Tuesday, August 23, 2016

June 22, 1893: Dan Edwards

Today we learn about an Alabama lynching through the pages of The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) dated June 26, 1893:


Hanged by a Mob for Assaulting a White Girl.

SELMA, Ala., June 25.—About one month ago Lelia Woods, daughter of a white farmer living near here, gave birth to a child whose black skin denoted its father was a negro. A few days ago Dan Edwards, a negro dwarf about twenty-seven years of age, was arrested on suspicion.

After much persuasion the girl confessed that the dwarf was the father of her child, but that about a year ago he had assaulted her, but on more than one occasion since she had been compelled to submit to him, as Edwards threatened to poison the whole family if she told. Thursday night, while officers were bringing Edwards to jail here, they were overpowered by a mob, who took the prisoner into the woods and hanged him. As the negro swung between earth and sky, the mob literally riddled his body with bullets. Upon his back was found pinned yesterday morning the following:  "Warning to all negroes who are too intimate with white girls. This is the work of 100 of the very best citizens of the South Side."

What I find most disturbing about this lynching is that they didn't try to find who was the father until the girl gave birth. According to multiple articles the girl was thirteen and according to one article "not possessed of good wit." It seems to me they should have been looking as soon as she was discovered pregnant and not once they saw that the baby had a black father. I don't know what the age of consent was in 1892 Alabama, but 12 or 13 would not be surprising. The question is whether a girl with lower than average intelligence could consent. I have no way of knowing exactly what "not possessed of good wit" means.  I guess everything was fine that this 13 year old "not possessed of good wit" daughter of a "poor but honest farmer" was pregnant until the race of the father was discovered. 

Quotes are found in an article in The Reidsville Review (Reidsville, N. C.) dated June 30, 1893.

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

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