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Society in the South evolved ensuing the emancipation of slaves after the Civil War. The Reconstruction of the South ended in and only added to the bad racial tensions in the region. Whites instituted laws that held blacks back from education, jobs, and participating in many forms of government. Lynching of blacks became rather prevalent and reached fever pitch in the s all across the United States, but mostly in the South. Lynching escalated during the s and Texas ranked third among states between the years and with approximatelyincluding blacks. The only states that had more lynching incidents were Mississippi and Georgia.
In MayJesse Washington, a seventeen year old black man, was arrested for the killing of Lucy Fryer, a fifty-three year old white woman. Washington would later confess to raping and killing Fryer. Wanting to avoid an attack on Washington while in custody in Waco, authorities in McLennan County sent Washington to a Dallas jail to await his trial.
When his trial took place on May 15,Washington arrived back in Waco to a packed court room. Twelve white men formed his jury, and they found him guilty of murder after only four minutes of deliberation. A mob had gathered around the courthouse prior to the trial and waited for their chance to capture Washington.
After his conviction, the jailers took Washington down the back stairs of the courthouse, where the mob had been waiting. A crowd estimated to be between 15, to 20, people watched as the belligerents hung Washington from a tree and slowly lowered him up and down over the Old Waco woman boxes. After two hours of monstrously lynching Washington, the mob took his body and placed it in a bag and dragged it to Robinson, Texas, which was the hometown of Fryer and a large African-American population.
Horrific pictures capturing the violence and mob were taken by local photographer Fred Gildersleeve. He profited from selling these images as postcards and prints of the lynching were distributed globally. Waco had seen another lynching to that of Washington.
A mob had lynched an African American man by the name of Sank Majors in After a jury deliberated only three minutes in his trial, Majors was found guilty and two hundred men seized and dragged him to the town square, where they hung him from the Washington Street Bridge. The lynchings took place during the time of the Jim Crow Laws in the South.
These laws legally separated blacks and whites in numerous institutions such as schools, restrooms, and various types of transportation. Ferguson case in by the Supreme Court of the United States. People began to see lynching as a barbaric act and started condemning those who participated in them. Old Waco woman NAACP led the charge in getting anti-lynching laws passed in light of the Washington lynching, which led to the decline of lynching after the s and into the early s.
Lynching also had an effect on the arts. Inthe lynching of Jesse Washington became national and local news again when ABC News Nightline aired an eighty-fifth anniversary special. After much debate over the word "apology," and the word's eventual removal, the McLennan County Commissioners passed a resolution condemning the lynching culture and mob violence of the past on May 23, The Waco City Council passed a similar resolution a little over a month later.
Neither resolution included Jesse Washington by name. Need Help? Text Society in the South evolved ensuing the emancipation of slaves after the Civil War. Many papers in northern states were critical of the action that happened in Waco. Papers in the South tended to denounce northern papers' attacks on southerners.
News of the incident shocked many people around the country.
Photographs of Washington show the depravity of the lynching. Afterwards, Americans began to view such mobs as barbaric, and the of lynchings started to decline in the late s.
This photograph sheds light on the attitude of the onlookers. They looked on and screamed, encouraging the stabbing, beating, and eventual burning of his body.
Moments after the verdict was read aloud, the crowd surged toward Jesse Washington and dragged him out of the courtroom. Get Directions. Related Tours African American History. Subjects Race and Ethnicity Politics and Government.
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Jesse Washington Lynching