Tuesday, December 1, 2015

August 12, 1909: Unnamed Negro

Today we learn about a lynching in Louisiana through the pages of The Alexandria Times-Tribune (Alexandria, Indiana) dated August 16, 1909:


Negro Sues a White Man and Is Lynched For His Temerity.

Monroe, La., Aug 16.—News has been received here of the lynching of a negro near Doss, in Moorehouse parish. The negro was hanged from a tree by the roadside near his home and his body riddled with bullets. Considerable ill feeling is said to have been entertained against him because he brought suit against a white resident of that community who had killed a cow belonging to the negro.

The following article referencing the lynching can be found in the August 17, 1909 edition of The New York Times (New York, N. Y.):

Lynching for a New Offense.

It is almost incredible that a negro should have been lynched because he sued for damages a white man who had shot his cow, yet that is the statement made in  a dispatch from Louisiana, printed yesterday. If the story was true, if the negro really was strung up to the branch of a tree and riddled with bullets simply because he applied to the courts for redress when wrongfully deprived of his property, the affair was in some ways about the worst manifestation of the lynching spirit that has ever disgraced the country.

Always in theory, and usually in practice, a mob killing is the infliction of wild justice for crimes so heinous that the slow process of law can be called inadequate. In this case, however, there seems to have been not even  the poor excuse that the victim of the lynchers deserved killing. Had he shot the man who shot his cow, his taking off would have been at least explicable, and, in conceivable conditions, defensible, but to hang him because he went to law for the adjustment of his grievance was a complete abandonment of civilization. If any considerable number of people took part in the murder, that part of Louisiana—Moorehouse Parish—must be in sorer need of missionaries than Darkest Africa or the South Sea Islands.

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

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