Friday, May 13, 2016
December 20, 1900: Unnamed Negro
Today we learn about the lynching of an innocent man in Louisiana through the pages of The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) dated December 22, 1900:
LYNCHED THE WRONG MAN.
Perfectly Innocent Colored Man's Life Was Taken in Louisiana by a Mob.
NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 21.—The mob at Gulfport which lynched a negro yesterday has discovered that it made a mistake and lynched the wrong man. A perfectly inoffensive darky was killed. The crowd started after Vin. Lewis and his son and Henry Lewis. Several negroes were rounded up, among them Alvin Lewis and a young negro said to be Henry Lewis. It was the latter who was promptly shot to death as the murderer of Marshal Richardson. It is now proven that the lynched negro was not Henry Lewis and that the latter has succeeded in his escape, and it is upon Henry that the murder has been fixed. The father, Alvin, over whose arrest the trouble arose, has disappeared. He was taken to the Gulfport, the crowd demanded that he be lynched and nothing but the firmness and courage of the deputy sheriff prevented this. The mob came back a second time to lynch him and it was deemed prudent to move the prisoner. It was reported that he was confined in the Meridien jail for safe keeping, but this is shown to be a mistake. Whether he is hidden or the mob has lynched him remains in doubt.
Alvin Lewis was a preacher there and because some of the clothing of Richardson was found the negroes of the burned church held a meeting and adopted the following resolutions:
"We, the undersigned colored citizens of Gulfport, are in deep regret at the loss of our reliable officer who was assassinated by the coward on Dec. 19, and always being willing to aid in the capture of the murderer, we offer you our services through the pastor of the Baptist church of Gulfport, notwithstanding we are much humiliated over the loss of our church, and we pray for your consideration. We are poor but anxious for an honored reputation."
These resolutions had the effect of arousing sympathy toward the negroes on the part of the white people of Gulfport. The burning of the church is generally reprobated and the whites will raise the money needed to rebuild it. The better element of the whites are in control at Gulfport now and declare that there shall be no more violence but it will be impossible for them to stop the lynching of Henry Lewis if he is captured.
Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope to leave you with something to ponder.