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The Truth Will Unite Us: The Fake News of Ida B. Wells (Part One: The Lists)

Updated on February 26, 2019

"It has been claimed that the Southern white women have been slandered because, in defending the Negro race from the charge that all colored men, who are lynched, only pay penalty for assaulting women. It is certain that lynching mobs have not only refused to give the Negro a chance to defend himself, but have killed their victim with a full knowledge that the relationship of the alleged assailant with the woman who accused him, was voluntary and clandestine. As a matter of fact, one of the prime causes of the Lynch Law agitation has been a necessity for defending the Negro from this awful charge against him. This defense has been necessary because the apologists for outlawry insist that in no case has the accusing woman been a willing consort of her paramour, who is lynched because overtaken in wrong." Ida B. Wells, The Red Record

Cover of A Red Record, Ida B. Wells' essay on lynchings in the United States.
Cover of A Red Record, Ida B. Wells' essay on lynchings in the United States. | Source

Please note:

"Confirmed” means that lynchings noted in The Red Record have been verified by another source, such as contemporary (ca. 1893/1894) newspaper clippings. If I couldn’t find the name online, then I looked up the location of the alleged lynching. I also accessed the archives of several newspapers, such as the Chicago Tribune, to verify Wells' claims. Numerous websites, such as Lynching in Texas and This Cruel War, could not be used as a source because they rely heavily on The Red Record as a source. The most reliable sources for information were the American Lynching website, which is run by the Tuskegee Institute, Strange Fruit and Spanish Moss, which relies on news clippings as a source, the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture (for lynchings in Arkansas), and Racial Terror: Lynching in Virginia,1877-1927.

There are quotations from Wells and her contemporaries (ca. 1890s), in addition to quotes from contemporary (ca. 1890s) newspapers in which they use the words “negro” and “colored.” I use these words only in direct quotes, not in my own analysis or narrative.

Also, about lynchings being "vastly underreported:" While the victims of lynchings rarely saw justice, newspapers reported on any and all lynchings with ghoulish delight, in lurid and grisly detail. The sad reality is that tragedies sell newspapers, and lynchings were guaranteed money in the bank.

Lastly: The Ku Klux Klan was not responsible for these murders. The Klan was suppressed in the early 1870s by passage of the Enforcement Acts. The Klan did not organize again until 1915, after the lynching of Leo Frank. "Regular people" carried out the lynchings that did occur.

The clothes Mary Phagan was wearing when she was murdered.  Maybe the photos of lynching victims should be accompanied by autopsy and crime scene photos of the victims they allegedly murdered.
The clothes Mary Phagan was wearing when she was murdered. Maybe the photos of lynching victims should be accompanied by autopsy and crime scene photos of the victims they allegedly murdered. | Source

In 1895, Ida B. Wells published The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States. In it, she stated that lynchings occurred because white southern women were having a lot of consensual sexual relationships with black men, much to the chagrin of white southern men. And that consensual sex made white men so angry that they were willing to kill over it.

I strongly believe Wells' activism exacerbated, rather than alleviated, the lynching problem in the United States. From the 1780s to the 1880s, "Lynch Law" was essentially "frontier justice," and many of its victims were deserving of the punishment. Most of its victims were white.

Wells changed all that.

Lynchings had been seen, for a century, as quick justice for legitimate criminals. Wells veered wildly off topic and planted the seed in white men's minds that white women preferred black men over white men, and that white men should feel threatened by that. And that white men Should Do Something About It. Never mind that there was little to no proof to back up her theory. Never mind that she avoided the discussion of whether vigilantes and legal executions of any man or woman - white or black - deserved a place at the table of civilized societies.

Further, Wells' Southern Horrors and Record built a foundation upon which our modern, misogynist, rape apologist myth was built: That women falsely accuse men of rape because they feel regret for their consensual sexual encounters. The myth that dictates that you don't report your rape because, hey ... you wouldn't want your rapist to get in trouble, would you??

Most anti-lynching activism before WWII was profoundly misogynistic. It diminished the atrocities committed against young women and girls by denying they ever happened. Sadly, those murder and rape victims were not alleged victims. Five year old Lizzie Yeates was raped by an adult man. Thirteen year old Mary Phagan's mutilated body was found after she was raped and murdered in a factory basement. Four year old Myrtle Vance was taken into the forest near her home where she was raped, murdered, and her tiny body dismembered.

Unfortunately, no one cares about those female victims, they only care about the poor men. Even female lynching victims are not as exalted as their male counterparts.

Anti-lynching Crusaders pin.  The anti-lynching crusade was a righteous cause, but some activists, like Ida B. Wells, used deception to achieve their goals.
Anti-lynching Crusaders pin. The anti-lynching crusade was a righteous cause, but some activists, like Ida B. Wells, used deception to achieve their goals. | Source

There were many inaccuracies in Wells' Record. Human error could be blamed for some of them. It was, after all, 1895; it was probably difficult to compile such a comprehensive list without tools like the internet and telephones.

Some inaccuracies were caused by newspapers reporting threats of a lynching like they were lynchings themselves; thankfully, those threats never materialized into actual lynchings. This misreporting was not uncommon.

Additionally, some "lynchings" turned out to be nothing more than sick practical jokes (pg. 28-29).

Wells purposefully omitted white lynchings from her Record. White victims of this terrible crime were not uncommon; in fact, until 1885, the majority of (if not all) lynching victims were white. The worst year for lynchings of both whites and blacks was 1892. From 1893 forward, the number of white victims plummeted, while the number of black victims remained the same, until the 1920s.

Wells' desire to prove her point was to blame, but we can't excuse Wells' mistakes, either. She had a theory - a bad theory - and she fudged the numbers to prove it. The Red Record is, ultimately, fake news.

White lynchings were not uncommon; in some states, only white men were lynched.  Four lynched men, Yreka, Siskyou County, California, 1894.
White lynchings were not uncommon; in some states, only white men were lynched. Four lynched men, Yreka, Siskyou County, California, 1894. | Source

Wells' Record reportedly listed all African Americans lynched in 1893 and 1894, and general lynching statistics from 1892, which was the worst year for lynchings in the United States. Unfortunately, much of the information Wells listed for 1893 and 1894 was inaccurate.

Wells' Record is confusing, which she may have done on purpose. It does not follow a timeline. Wells reported some incidents several times, changing the details to make them look like separate, unrelated incidents.

The following information - lynching statistics from 1892 - is noted many pages into her Record, after numerous other falsehoods: "RECORD FOR THE YEAR 1892 In 1892 there were 241 persons lynched. Of this number 160 were of Negro descent."

Surprisingly, Wells' 1892 lynching statistics were more or less accurate: The number of people lynched in 1892 was 230; 161 black people, 69 white people. Wells, however, didn't list the names of lynching victims from 1892, as she did with the victims from 1893 and 1894, which means there is no way to confirm whether her numbers are accurate.

Unfortunately, Wells' 1893 lynching statistics were false. She stated that she used the Chicago Tribune's list of lynching victims from January 1, 1894. We could note that the list was published in the December 31, 1893, edition of the paper, but that's just petty nitpicking. Let's put some meat on this argument.

Every year, the Chicago Tribune published lists of all tragic deaths that occurred during the previous year. These lists included public executions - which they stated were a blight on humanity - suicides, and deaths by natural disasters. The Tribune also published a record of all white lynching victims.

It is unknown why Wells omitted those white names from her Record, as inclusion would only have bolstered her anti-lynching argument.

It is disturbing that there doesn't seem to have been any kind of fact-checking performed in regard to lynching deaths by either Wells or the Tribune; I didn't look at any other death statistics, so they may have been inaccurate, as well. In later years, Wells revised and distributed new editions of her Record, but never revised the lists.

My research also uncovered numerous victims who were not included in her Record or on the Tribune list. Certainly, people would have written her to tell her list was incomplete or incorrect, and that some of the men had not been lynched, or that they knew of people who had been lynched who weren't in her Record. All the women on her lists were confirmed, probably because there were so few of them.

So ... without further ado, here are Wells' "facts."

Lynching of Henry Smith in Paris, Texas. This was one of the most brutal and widely publicized lynchings in American history.
Lynching of Henry Smith in Paris, Texas. This was one of the most brutal and widely publicized lynchings in American history. | Source

The following are taken from Wells' list of all lynchings victims from 1893. These names appeared in both her Record and the Tribune, and have been confirmed:

  1. unknown negro in Forest Hill, Tenn.;
  2. Richard Mays, aka Doc Moore
  3. John Peterson
  4. Isaac Lincoln
  5. Samuel Bush
  6. William Shorter
  7. Daniel Edwards
  8. Lee Walker
  9. Thomas Preston
  10. Handy Kaigler
  11. William Thompson
  12. Thomas Smith
  13. Riley Gulley
  14. Sept. 15, Benjamin Jackson, Jackson, Miss.; well poisoning (listed twice: also Sept. 8, Benjamin Jackson, Quincy, Miss.;)
  15. Mahala Jackson
  16. Louisa Carter
  17. W.A. Haley
  18. Jessie Mitchell
  19. Rufus Bigley (BEAGLEY)
  20. Valsin Julian, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
  21. Basil Julian, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
  22. Paul Julian, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
  23. John Willis, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
  24. William Richards
  25. James Dickson
  26. Abner Anthony
  27. Edward Wagner
  28. William Wagner
  29. Samuel Motlow
  30. Eliza Motlow
  31. Lucius Holt
  32. Henry G. Givens

Further commentary will be given on the Jefferson Parish, Lee Walker, John Peterson, Forest Hill, Thomas Smith and Jessie Mitchell lynchings in a separate piece; research has uncovered information that is wildly different from Wells' Record and information available online.

List of tragic deaths, 1893.
List of tragic deaths, 1893. | Source
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (2)
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (2) | Source
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (3)
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (3) | Source
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (4)
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (4) | Source
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (5)
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (5) | Source
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (6)
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (6) | Source
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (7)
List of tragic deaths, 1893 (7) | Source

It appears that Wells listed these two men twice in her Record; the date and area (Franklin Parish) are similar and there are no other reports of well poisonings at that time/place:

two unknown negroes on August 18, 1893

Although Wells listed the following as lynching victims in her Record, the Tribune noted that they were legally executed, not lynched (1893):

  1. Samuel Thorp
  2. George S. Riechen
  3. Joseph Bird
  4. James Lamar
  5. Henry Miller
  6. Ada Hiers
  7. Alexander Brown
  8. W.G. Jamison
  9. John Ferguson
  10. Oscar Johnston
  11. Henry Ewing
  12. William Smith
  13. Staples Green
  14. Hiram Jacobs
  15. Lucien Mannet,
  16. Hire Bevington
  17. Weldon Gordon
  18. Parse Strickland
  19. William Dalton
  20. M.B. Taylor
  21. Isaac Williams
  22. Miller Davis
  23. John Johnston

Anti-Italian propaganda.
Anti-Italian propaganda.

The following were in the Record and Chicago Tribune (1893), but the lynchings could not be confirmed online:

  1. James Williams
  2. Patrick Wells
  3. Thomas Carr
  4. Richard Forman
  5. John Hughes
  6. Joseph Hayne (or Paine)
  7. Samuel Gaillard
  8. Haywood Banks
  9. Israel Halliway
  10. unknown negro in Wytheville, Virginia
  11. John Wallace
  12. L.C. Dumas
  13. Ernest Murphy
  14. unknown negro in Poplar Head, Louisiana
  15. unknown negro in Poplar Head, Louisiana
  16. Charles T. Miller
  17. Robert Larkin
  18. Henry Fleming
  19. unknown negro near Briar Field, Alabama
  20. Warren Dean
  21. John Cotton
  22. Meredith Lewis
  23. unknown negro in Brantford, Florida
  24. Charles Martin
  25. ---- Handy
  26. Isaac (ISAIAH) Harper
  27. Edward Bill
  28. William Steen
  29. unknown negro
  30. Henry Reynolds
  31. unknown negro in Wingo, Kentucky
  32. Daniel Lewis
  33. James Taylor
  34. John Chambers
  35. unknown negro
  36. Dug Hazleton
  37. Charles Walton
  38. negro tramp near Paducah, Kentucky
  39. Charles Tait
  40. John Nilson (WILSON)
  41. Jacob Davis
  42. Leonard Taylor
  43. Judge McNeil
  44. William Arkinson
  45. John Williams
  46. William Jackson
  47. Perry Bratcher
  48. Calvin Stewart
  49. Henry Coleman
  50. John Davis
  51. William Lacey
  52. David Jackson
  53. John Gamble
  54. unknown negro near Knox Point, Louisiana
  55. unknown negro (2) near Knox Point, Louisiana
  56. Edward Jenkins
  57. Robert Kennedy
  58. Henry Boggs
  59. unknown negro in Lake City Junction, Florida
  60. unknown negro (2) in Lake City Junction, Florida
  61. unknown negro (3) in Lake City Junction, Florida
  62. D.T. Nelson
  63. Newton Jones
  64. Robert Greenwood
  65. unknown negro in Richmond, Alabama
  66. unknown negro (2) in Richmond, Alabama
  67. unknown negro near Selma, Alabama
  68. unknown negro (2) in Selma, Alabama
  69. unknown negro (3) in Selma, Alabama
  70. unknown negro (4) in Selma, Alabama
  71. William Ferguson
  72. unknown negro in Fannin, Mississippi
  73. Calvin Thomas
  74. Tillman Green
  75. Mack Segars

Lynching of a white stagecoach robber in Texas, c. 1890-1900
Lynching of a white stagecoach robber in Texas, c. 1890-1900 | Source

The following were in the Record and the Tribune (1893), but could only be confirmed online at the American Lynching website:

  1. Robert Landry, Louisiana
  2. Chicken George, Louisiana
  3. Richard Davis, Louisiana
  4. Frank Smith, Mississippi
  5. Benjamin Menter (MINTER), Alabama
  6. Robert Wilkins, Alabama
  7. Joseph Gevhens (GIVHEN), Alabama

The following were in the Record and the Tribune (1893) but could not be confirmed. There is no “Dickery,” Mississippi, but a search for lynchings in “Dockery” also yielded no results:

  1. Feb. 9, Frank Harrell, Dickery (DOCKERY), Mississippi
  2. Feb. 9, William Filder (FELDER), Dickery (DOCKERY), Mississippi

The following were in the Record, but not in the Tribune (1893). They were, however, confirmed online:

  1. Sept. 30, unknown negro in Houston, Texas
  2. Nov. 1, Thomas Hill, Spring Place, Ga.; rape

The following people were in the Record but NOT in the Tribune, and could NOT be confirmed online:

  1. Monroe Smith
  2. Charles Tart
  3. unknown negro in Centerville, Alabama

The following was in the Record and the Tribune, but was reported online that it had been a false report:

George Williams, near Waco, Texas

This is notable because it comes from the Lynchings in Texas website; much of their information comes directly from Wells' Record.

Lynching of Edgar Jones in Weston, West Virginia, 1892.
Lynching of Edgar Jones in Weston, West Virginia, 1892. | Source

There were also a few odd stories in the Record (1893).

The first one was the lynching of William Butler on February 7, 1893. Henry Smith’s lynching is one of the most gruesome of all lynchings, and was widely publicized. Wells noted the following in her Record:

KILLED FOR HIS STEPFATHER'S CRIME An account has been given of the cremation of Henry Smith, at Paris, Texas, for the murder of the infant child of a man named Vance. It would appear that human ferocity was not sated when it vented itself upon a human being by burning his eyes out, by thrusting a red-hot iron down his throat, and then by burning his body to ashes. Henry Smith, the victim of these savage orgies, was beyond all the power of torture, but a few miles outside of Paris, some members of the community concluded that it would be proper to kill a stepson named William Butler as a partial penalty for the original crime. This young man, against whom no word has ever been said, and who was in fact an orderly, peaceable boy, had been watched with the severest scrutiny by members of the mob who believed he knew something of the whereabouts of Smith. He declared from the very first that he did not know where his stepfather was, which statement was well proven to be a fact after the discovery of Smith in Arkansas, whence he had fled through swamps and woods and unfrequented places. Yet Butler was apprehended, placed under arrest, and on the night of February 6, taken out on Hickory Creek, five miles southeast of Paris, and hung for his stepfather's crime. After his body was suspended in the air, the mob filled it with bullets.

Local newspapers reported that William Butler of Hickory Creek, Texas, was lynched not long after the lynching of his stepfather, Henry Smith. However, at the time of his lynching, Henry Smith was only seventeen years old. William Butler was a man in middle age. While it is within the realm of possibility that Smith was Butler’s stepfather, it is unlikely.

Newspapers also reported that William Butler was lynched after Henry Smith; The Syracus Journal (Syracuse, Kansas) (February 17, 1893) referred to it as the "Sequel to the Paris Horror."

William Butler was lynched, but his relationship to Henry Smith remains unknown.

Newspaper clipping regarding the lynching of William Butler.
Newspaper clipping regarding the lynching of William Butler. | Source
Newspaper clipping regarding the lynching of William Butler.
Newspaper clipping regarding the lynching of William Butler. | Source
Newspaper clipping regarding the lynching of William Butler entitled "Sequel to the Paris Horror."
Newspaper clipping regarding the lynching of William Butler entitled "Sequel to the Paris Horror." | Source

The second odd story is the lynching of Allen Butler of Lawrenceville, Illinois. Butler was an African American veterinarian. His son lived with him. They had a hired girl, who was a 15 year old white girl. She became pregnant, allegedly by Butler’s son, and Butler performed an abortion on her.

This story doesn’t add up. While miscegenation was illegal in Illinois at the time, Butler was a prominent horse doctor who was wealthy and well respected in his community; his hired girl was poor with no standing in the community. It seems strange that Butler would feel an urgent need to perform an abortion on her if his son got her pregnant.

There were rumors in the community, however, that Butler himself got the girl pregnant, which was why he performed the abortion. Additionally, it was said that Butler was not lynched, but that he hanged himself out of guilt. The Logansport Pharaohs-Tribune reported the following story on July 17, 1893:

Was Allen Butler Lynched – – A Question That Is Interesting to The People Of Illinois Country

... The time for preliminary examination was set, but the old man, who has for 25 years been looked upon as a model man in whom everybody had confidence, could not face the law, and about daylight went out near his barn and taking some binding twine made a rope, throwing one in over a limb of a cottonwood tree and hanged himself. The Elkins girl had been living in his family for three years. Butler confessed to SC Lewis, an attorney, that he was guilty as charged; also that he had been having intercourse with the girl for a year past.

Taking advantage of a young girl, impregnating her, then performing an abortion to get rid of the child is morally reprehensible. There is certainly no way to applaud or excuse that behavior. But does it justify a lynching?

NAACP Anti-Lynching poster.  By 1922, the NAACP was itself trying to dispel the myth that false rape accusations were the cause of lynchings.
NAACP Anti-Lynching poster. By 1922, the NAACP was itself trying to dispel the myth that false rape accusations were the cause of lynchings. | Source

This last story is not so much odd as it is wildly inaccurate. Wells reported that the following men were lynched for arson in Carrollton, Alabama, on September 15, 1893, in her Record:

Paul Hill, Paul Archer, William Archer, Emma Fair

The lynching and city are confirmed (although only by American Lynching), but the date and names were incorrect. According to American Lynching, the lynching occurred on September 9, 1893. Wells' Record excluded on victim entirely:

Polk Hill, Paul Arche, William Archer, Ellen Fant, Ed Guyton

This is one of several example of wild inaccuracies in Wells' Record.

Mexican men were also victims of the lynch mob.
Mexican men were also victims of the lynch mob. | Source

Wells sometimes inflated the number of lynchings by listing victims' names, then adding a separate narrative, with no indication that they would be mentioned a second time, at the end of her Record. Wells used this manipulative technique in the following case:

Near Memphis, Tenn., six Negroes were lynched--this time charged with burning barns. A trial of the indicted resulted in an acquittal, although it was shown on trial that the lynching was prearranged for them. Six widows and twenty-seven orphans are indebted to this mob for their condition, and this lynching swells the number to eleven Negroes lynched in and about Memphis since March 9, 1892.

No names and few details. Wells then listed the victims - those same six men - as victims on the 1894 list (this was known as the Big Creek Bottoms lynching). They were accused of burning a barn. The lynching occurred on September 1, 1893, in Millington, Tennessee: Daniel Hawkins, Robert Haynes, Warner Williams, Edward Hall, John Haynes, and Graham White.

Cover of Shelby County's Shame: Story of the Big Creek Lynching and Trial.
Cover of Shelby County's Shame: Story of the Big Creek Lynching and Trial.

The following were in Wells' Record and the Tribune, and have been confirmed (1894) (please note that some of them were hard to confirm due to spelling/transcription errors):

  1. Roscoe Parker
  2. Charles Willis
  3. John Buckner (BUCHNER)
  4. Henry Bruce (WITH BOB AND CHARLEY PLUNKETT, NOT LISTED)
  5. unknown woman near Marche, Arkansas
  6. Richard Puryea
  7. Oliver Jackson
  8. Seymour Newland
  9. Daniel Adams
  10. Samuel Wood
  11. Jefferson Crawford
  12. Isaac Kemp
  13. James Perry
  14. Ulysses Hayden
  15. William Bell
  16. William Griffith
  17. Vance McClure
  18. unknown negro in Yarborough, Texas (1893)
  19. Luke Washington, Meghee (MCGEHEE), Arkansas
  20. Richard Washington, Meghee (MCGEHEE), Arkansas
  21. Henry Crobyson (ROBINSON), Meghee (MCGEHEE), Arkansas
  22. Robert Mosely
  23. (STEPHEN) Williams
  24. Mrs. Teddy Arthur (white woman) (is listed twice)

The following were listed in Wells' Record and the Tribune, but information online suggests that it was reported that their lynchings were misreported (i.e., they were not lynched):

  1. unknown negro in Verona, Missouri
  2. Willis Griffey, Princeton, Kentucky

Newspaper clipping for the lynching of Richard Puryear.
Newspaper clipping for the lynching of Richard Puryear. | Source
Newspaper clipping of TRIPLE LYNCHING of Henry Bruce, and Bob and Charley Plunkett.  Bob and Charley were not included in Wells' Record.
Newspaper clipping of TRIPLE LYNCHING of Henry Bruce, and Bob and Charley Plunkett. Bob and Charley were not included in Wells' Record. | Source
Newspaper clipping for woman lynched near Marche, Arkansas.
Newspaper clipping for woman lynched near Marche, Arkansas. | Source
Newspaper clipping  regarding the lynching of Willis Griffey.
Newspaper clipping regarding the lynching of Willis Griffey. | Source

The following were in the Record and the Tribune (1894), but could not be confirmed:

  1. Alfred Davis
  2. Samuel Smith
  3. Sherman Wagoner
  4. unknown [African American] in Bayou Sarah, Louisiana
  5. M.G. Cambell
  6. ---- Collins
  7. Jesse Dillingham
  8. Henry McCreeg
  9. Lentige (LEN TYE)
  10. Sylvester Rhodes
  11. Lamsen Gregory
  12. ---- Saybrick
  13. unknown negro, near Selma, Alabama
  14. unknown negro (2), near Selma, Alabama
  15. Daniel Ahren
  16. William Lewis
  17. Alfred Brenn
  18. Henry Montgomery
  19. Jefferson Luggle
  20. Robert Evarts
  21. James Robinson
  22. Benjamin White
  23. Nim Young
  24. Coat Williams (pg. 265)
  25. Henry Scott
  26. unknown negro in Miller County, Georgia
  27. William Brooks
  28. Henry Smith
  29. William James
  30. J.T. Burgis
  31. Frank Ballard
  32. unknown negro in Dublin, Georgia
  33. Ready Murdock
  34. Thondo (THOMAS?) Underwood
  35. Harry Gill
  36. Lewis Williams
  37. Mark Jacobs
  38. Lon Hall
  39. Bascom Cook
  40. J.H. Dave
  41. Luke Thomas
  42. unknown negro in Blackshear, Georgia
  43. Owen Opliltree
  44. Archie Haynes
  45. Burt Haynes
  46. William Haynes
  47. Henry Capus
  48. Caleb Godly
  49. Edward White
  50. George Linton
  51. Fayette Franklin
  52. John Williams
  53. Joseph Johnson
  54. Lewis Bankhead
  55. George Pond
  56. ---- Hood
  57. James Bell
  58. Augustus Pond
  59. James Nelson
  60. unknown Negro in Biloxi, Mississippi
  61. Marion Howard
  62. John Brownlee
  63. Allen Myers
  64. unknown woman in Sampson County, Mississippi
  65. William Tyler
  66. William Nershbread
  67. Marshall Boston
  68. Henderson Hollander
  69. Robert Williams
  70. James Smith
  71. David Gooseby
  72. Henry Gibson
  73. Lee Lawrence
  74. Gabe Nalls
  75. Ulysses Nails
  76. Needham Smith
  77. Lawrence Younger
  78. unknown negro in Landrum, South Carolina
  79. William Jackson
  80. unknown negro in Williamston, South Carolina
  81. unknown negro in Marion County, Florida
  82. James Allen
  83. Samuel Taylor
  84. Charles Frazier
  85. Samuel Pike
  86. Harry Sherard
  87. unknown negro
  88. unknown negro (2), Brooks County,Georgia
  89. George King
  90. William Carter
  91. unknown negro in Brooks County, Georgia
  92. Sloan Allen
  93. Daniel McDonald
  94. Scott Sherman

Crescent Plantation stately home.  Homes this large were uncommon; most plantation owners could afford little more than a normal sized farmhouse.
Crescent Plantation stately home. Homes this large were uncommon; most plantation owners could afford little more than a normal sized farmhouse. | Source

The following were in the Record and the Tribune (1894). They were accused of the murder of J.K. Boyce and lynched in Tallulah, Louisiana, on April 27, 1894: Thomas Claxton, David Hawkins, Thel (SHELL) Claxton, Comp (POMP) Claxton, Scot(t) Harvey, Jerry (TONY) McCoy, and Samuel Slaugate (SLAUGHTER).

It is interesting, why Wells didn't showcase their story in her anti-lynching literature. All victims lived as Freemen on the Crescent Plantation, which was owned by the Darcy family but supervised by Boyce. Little is known of Boyce, but from the events that transpired, it can be assumed that he was a bad character, and that his murder may have been justified. Thirty years had passed since the Emancipation Proclamation; although it is unlikely that Boyce officially served as an overseer during slavery, he may have taken his "supervisory" position too far and unofficially presided over the plantation like it was still the slave days.

In addition to the eight men who were lynched, 17 more were charged with Boyce's murder and imprisoned in the local jail.

The following women were lynched in 1894; Wells listed their names twice in her Record. in the list above. Please note that Mrs. Teddy Arthur was white, and the only one on the entire list confirmed to have been killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Wells listed all of these women twice in her Record:

  1. unknown woman near Marche, Ark.;
  2. unknown woman in Sampson County, Miss.;
  3. Mrs. Teddy Arthur (WHITE) in Lincoln County, West Virginia, by "whitecaps" (KKK)

The following report from May 9, 1893, is so vague that it is astounding that Wells would bother to include it in her Record:

unknown Negro in West Texas for writing a letter to a white woman

Book excerpt regarding lynching of Mrs. Teddy Arthur, white woman.
Book excerpt regarding lynching of Mrs. Teddy Arthur, white woman. | Source

Wells listed the following men as having been lynched for the crime of burning a barn in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on April 22, 1893: Thomas Black, John William, and Toney Johnson.

A search of those names offered no results. However, the following incident occurred on the same day in the same town:

AN ALABAMA LYNCHING Memphis, Tenn., April 22. Fayette Deloney, Ed Felton and Emmet Deloney, three negroes, charged with incendiarism, were taken from jail by a mob at Tuscumbia, Ala., and lynched.

A few weeks ago several negroes in the vicinity of Leighton, Ala., were arrested for burning the barn of Claude King, of Leighton, which occurred over twelve months ago, in which he lost twenty-one head of horses, a lot of provender and a number of farming implements, aggregating a loss of $5,000. This was one of a series of burnings, and the people of Leighton were in a state of constant suspense.

Suspicion pointed to Fayette Deloney and his son Emmet. Ed Felton and Grant Ricks, all negroes living in that vicinity, and the evidence continued to strengthen until a negro detective was employed to work up the chain. He went to Leighton, and in the course of a few days had completely won the confidence of the negroes, who unfolded themselves and confessed that they had destroyed the barn to avenge themselves upon King, who had foreclosed a mortgage against one of their number. They confessed that it was their intention to fire his storehouse and residence, but that the opportunity had never presented itself. They also showed the detective a key which would admit them into a number of business houses in Leighton.

Upon this evidence they were arrested, and at a preliminary hearing before a Leighton magistrate the three first named were adjudged guilty and bound over to await the action of the grand jury, Grant Ricks having been acquitted. They were brought to Tuscumbia ten days ago and placed in jail.

Saturday night at 11:30 o'clock about thirty masked men visited the Tuscumbia jail the sheriff, Shelby Frisham, being in attendance at a Masonic banquet and taking the three negroes in charge, rushed them to a county bridge a few blocks away, hanged them and riddled their bodies with bullets.

The deed was done so adroitly and systematically that not a dozen people knew of it until yesterday morning. The mob came from Leighton, each member being disguised. After accomplishing their object they quietly dispersed, leaving the bodies hanging to one of the beams of the bridge. (Leighton News 27 Apr 1894) Note: Until 1895, the line between Lawrence and Colbert Counties ran through the center of Leighton.

Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells | Source

Wells' primary assertion was that black men were lynched because they were participating in consensual sexual relationships with white women; white women who then turned around and accused their black lovers of raping them.

Ultimately, Wells put the interests of men above their female victims.

She not only excused male rapists, she said white women were essentially "begging for it" and shifted the blame for white male violence committed during lynchings to white women, as well. She laid the cornerstone of the foundation of the myth that women falsely report their rapes.

Sadly, though, even black women were not safe from Wells' internalized misogyny. Wells did not view spousal abuse as a serious crime. In The Red Record, Wells wrote:

LYNCHED FOR ANYTHING OR NOTHING (_Lynched for Wife Beating_) In nearly all communities wife beating is punishable with a fine, and in no community is it made a felony. Dave Jackson, of Abita, La., was a colored man who had beaten his wife. He had not killed her, nor seriously wounded her, but as Louisiana lynchers had not filled out their quota of crimes, his case was deemed of sufficient importance to apply the method of that barbarous people. He was in the custody of the officials, but the mob went to the jail and took him out in front of the prison and hanged him by the neck until he was dead. This was in Nov. 1893.

This man's wife was a black woman! Additionally, many of the black men accused of raping white women had previously been accused of committing similar crimes against black women, which Wells conveniently omits from her Record.

What's worse is that this story isn't be confirmed. There is no evidence of a lynching of a “Dave Jackson” in that or any other location.

This tall tale - like most of The Red Record - served to give credence to her myth and nothing else.

Wells’ internalized misogyny spoke loud and clear: Shut up about your abuse. Domestic violence is not a crime unless he seriously wounds or kills you. Don’t report his abuse; after all, you wouldn’t want him to be lynched for it, would you?

And she would lie to you to prove she was right.

The Case of the Disappearing Citations.  The Equal Justice Initiative publishes inflammatory, divisive rhetoric.
The Case of the Disappearing Citations. The Equal Justice Initiative publishes inflammatory, divisive rhetoric. | Source
The Case of the Disappearing Citations.  The Equal Justice Initiative publishes inflammatory, divisive rhetoric.
The Case of the Disappearing Citations. The Equal Justice Initiative publishes inflammatory, divisive rhetoric. | Source

Had these lies been abandoned back in 19th century, there would be no need to discuss them now. Unfortunately, this toxic zombie rhetoric just won't quit.

In 2015, the Equal Justice Initiative released a report, entitled “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.” Near the end of the report, they parroted Wells' myth:

White women and girls played a central role as accusers and thus instigators of lynchings. In the lynchings committed in reaction to rape accusations, white adolescent girls accounted for more than half of the accusers.331 Even when rape accusations were disproved or directly contradicted, the white women and girls responsible for the claims “suffered neither social stigma nor criminal prosecution” for their role in instigating the murders of innocent black men and boys.332 Socializing girls in such an amoral framework communicated a devaluation of black life and inflicted psychological damage on them.

Funny how the bibliography is missing citations for both 331 and 332. But who needs facts when you have inflammatory, divisive rhetoric?

#bhm #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistory #bhm #feb #february #american #blacklivesmatter #blackpeople

Tragic deaths, 1894
Tragic deaths, 1894 | Source
Tragic deaths, 1894 (2)
Tragic deaths, 1894 (2) | Source
Tragic deaths, 1894 (3)
Tragic deaths, 1894 (3) | Source
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Tragic deaths, 1894 (4) | Source
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Tragic deaths, 1894 (5) | Source
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Tragic deaths, 1894 (6) | Source
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Tragic deaths, 1894 (7) | Source
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Tragic death, 1894 (8) | Source
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Tragic deaths, 1894 (9) | Source
Tragic deaths, 1894 (10)
Tragic deaths, 1894 (10) | Source
Tragic deaths, 1894 (11)
Tragic deaths, 1894 (11) | Source
Tragic deaths, 1894 (12)
Tragic deaths, 1894 (12) | Source
Tragic deaths, 1894 (13)
Tragic deaths, 1894 (13) | Source

© 2018 Carrie Peterson

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