Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 23, 1930: Dave Harris

Today's lynching occurred in Mississippi as we learn from The Anniston Star (Anniston, Alabama) dated April 23, 1930:


Black Caught and Lynched by Posse of 200 Mississippi Men

ROSEDALE, Miss., Apr. 23. (UP)—Dave Harris, 40, negro, slayer of a white boy, was caught and lynched by a posse of more than 200 men near here today.

The negro who late yesterday shot Clayton Funderberg, 17-year-old farm boy, to death, was surrounded and captured in the Mississippi River swamps after an all-night search.

According to reports to officers here he was marched to a tree and executed before a firing squad of possemen. Officers leading the posse were powerless to prevent the execution.

Harris shot young Funderberg to death with a shotgun after the boy, his brother, Cliff, and Fred Ayers, had gone to the negro's cabin and accused him of stealing groceries from the Funderberg house.

He fired at the other boys but they fled and escaped uninjured. Bloodhounds, followed by a posse of between 200 and 300 men and boys, lost the trail in the swamps last night.

Today the search was resumed and Harris was captured about three miles from the scene of the shooting late yesterday. Deputy Sheriff A. S. Day, leading the posse, reported he was unable to persuade the mob to turn the negro over to him.

A second article is found in The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) dated May 3, 1930:


Dave Harris Handcuffed To Tree as Bloodthirsty Mob Acts—No Effort Made To Halt Disgrace

ROSEDALE, Miss., May 1—(ANP)—Handcuffed to a tree and pleading for his life, Dave Harris, forty-year-old tenant farmer, was shot to death by a mob of more than 150 whites here Tuesday morning.

Harris was charged with the slaying of Clayton Funderberg, a white youth, during an argument over some groceries which the white youth declared Harris had stolen. The killing occurred near the Harris home, where Funderberg had gone to "get his man" or the groceries.

Following the fatal shooting Harris made his escape and for some ten hours eluded a mob of 300 angry whites, armed with shotguns and revolvers and rifles and aided by bloodhounds. A complete cordon was thrown around the swamp in which Harris was supposed to have been hiding, but despite the close vigil of his pursuers Harris made his escape and went to the house of a friend, George Williams.

Denied aid there, he again made his way to another hiding place and told Williams where he was going. Harris had not got out of sight before Williams was on his way to the sheriff's office to inform them of Harris' whereabouts. He led the officers to the spot and Harris was placed under arrest.

As the officer and his prisoner approached the city limits they were met by the mob. The deputy sheriff tried to reason with the bloodthirsty whites and to urge them to let the law take its course in the case. The group, however, could not be persuaded and the terrified prisoner was turned over to them.

The news of his capture had circulated and a sizeable addition to the mob arrived before the lynching ceremonies got under way. The manacled man was handcuffed to a tree and amid the shouts of joy of the lynchers his body was riddled with bullets. The coroner stated that more than 150 bullets were fired into the victim's body, while exponents of "white supremacy" exulted in their savagery and satiated their thirst for blood.

The victim has paid with his life for killing a white man; the white man had been avenged and the law broken, so the mob dispersed. No inquest was necessary, as the verdict would be the same old decision usually handed down, "killed by unknown parties," although the members of the mob were not masked nor were they strangers in this section of the country. Just another Negro has been lynched.

According to beliefs expressed here following the brutal lynching, not even the perfunctory investigation of the lynching will be conducted until the next session of court, which convenes in about six months. The good and law-abiding citizens are "deploring the action of the mob, which has placed a blot on the good name of the state of Mississippi."

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

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