Wednesday, April 13, 2016

August 28, 1931: Richard and Charley Smoke

Today we learn about a lynching in Florida through the pages of The Bonham Daily Favorite (Bonham, Texas) dated August 29, 1931:

Two Negroes Shot; Released on Bonds: Mob Killed Them

by Associated Press

BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla., Aug. 29.—Richard Smoke and his son Charley, negroes, were lynched last night, after their release from jail on bond, charged with attacking Frazier Williams, a forest ranger. They were seized by a mob of masked men on their way home, after their employer had posted their bonds, and shot. They were turpentine workers. Williams was shot Tuesday.

The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) dated September 12, 1931:



TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 10—(ANP)—If the members of the mob which lynched Richard Smoke and his son, Charles, near Bluntstown, last Friday, are not brought to justice and punished it will not be due to any negligence on the part of Governor Carlton, according to a statement made by the chief executive Wednesday morning.

Governor Carlton declared that he would see to it that a thorough investigation is made into the lynching and that he would lend every assistance to the officials in running down the cowardly group "that not only lynched the Negroes but also lynched the state of Florida."

Following closely in the wake of the statement made by the governor he received the following telegram from Will W. Alexander, of the Inter-racial Commission:

"Let us commend heartily your vigorous statement relative to the Bluntstown lynching and your expressed determination to do everything possible to apprehend and punish the culprits. This case of mob murder was peculiarly flagrant and indefensible. Florida owes it to herself and to the South to bring the perpetrators to justice as the only possible means of vindicating in some degree our laws and our civilization. If this organization can help, please command us."

Scores of prominent citizens of the state have added their commendation to that of the Inter-racial Commission and --- urging that the investigation be made immediately. The mob shot the two men to death after they had been released from jail on bond following their arrest for an alleged attack upon a white man.

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

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