Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 2, 1882: Wm. Richard Long (Charles Gunson)

Today we learn of an Indiana lynching through the pages of The Bourbon News (Paris, Kentucky) dated April 11, 1882:

WM. RICHARD LONG alias Charles Gunson, was taken from jail at Kokomo, Indiana, by a mob, and hanged. His crime was that of raping the three-year-old daughter of Edward Pritchard, whom he horribly mutilated. Notwithstanding the physicians, who made an examination, declared he bore evidence of having committed the terrible crime, he protested his innocence up to the last and died game.

Our article of interest comes to us from The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) dated January 23, 1954:


NAACP and Women of Methodist Church Did Much to End Uncivilized Era


PRESIDENT Foster of Tuskegee has rightly stated that mob violence is no longer a valid index of progress in race relations because of "changes in the status of the Negro and the development of other extra-legal means of control, such as bombings, threats, incendiarism." The new president of Tuskegee is correct because other means of control may be just as effective as mob violence and lynchings.

Dr. Foster points out that in the future Tuskegee will use standards in four categories:  income relationship, voter participation, education and pupil cost, and employment; comparative conditions in certain jobs. I am certain Tuskegee will serve as effectively in these areas as she served in collecting data on lynching and mob violence.

* * *

ALTHOUGH THERE are other means of control just as damaging, I am glad that lynching is almost a thing of the past. Throughout my boyhood days I lived in constant fear of the mob. This is due in part to the fact that my earliest memory is that of a mob. I have a vivid picture of that mob today. I see those men as they made my father salute.

Since this is almost the end of the lynching era, it might be well to give a brief summary of this evil from 1882 through 1946 as printed in the Negro Yearbook. Briefly stated, a lynching may be defined where three or more persons come together, take the law into their own hands and kill a person without trial of any kind.

During the sixty-four years, 1882-1946, there were 4,716 lynchings in the United States. And what we are always likely to forget is that of this number 1,291 were whites. We usually think of lynching as applying only to Negroes. But it got to be an American institution operating in the North and in the South.

* * *

FROM 1882 through 1946 more than two and one-half times as many Negroes as whites were lynched is further evidence that the destiny of Negroes and whites is tied together. We could not lynch Negroes without the bug stinging whites. Forty-two of the forty-eight states have had lynchings ranging from one to 574. Oddly enough, twenty-six Northern states have had lynchings and sixteen Southern and border states have indulged in lynching.

Although the number of persons lynched has been decreasing since 1902, it took about a half-century before we could report a year with no lynchings. There were none in 1952 and none in 1953. Every year between 1882 and 1946 there were Negroes lynched. There were thirteen years during these sixty-four years when no white person was lynched.

* * *

DURING THE period under discussion, the following states lynched Negroes:  Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming.

All of the states that lynched Negroes lynched white people except Delaware and New Jersey. Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, South Dakota and Wisconsin lynched white men but no Negroes.

It is hardly surprising that between 1882 and 1946 Mississippi took first prize in lynching—574; not surprising that Georgia ran Mississippi a close second—525; Texas came third with 489; Louisiana fourth, 391; Alabama fifth, 364; Arkansas sixth, 285, and Tennessee seventh, with 250 lynchings in sixty-four years.

* * *

DURING THIS era Negroes were lynched for charges of rape or attempted rape, murder, insulting women, stabbing, owing debt, killing a boy in an automobile accident, quarrelling over wages, wife-beating, attempting to qualify to vote, failure to call a white man mister, replacing white man on job, stealing or suspected stealing, disputing a white man's word, etc. The NAACP and the women of the Methodist Church did much to end this uncivilized era.

Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

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