“Racism springs from ignorance.” This was a quote made by Mario Balotelli, a black Italian football player. It indicates that racism is a foolish idea, and that it comes from the lack of wisdom. However, if we turn the clock back to the 1910s to the 1930s, most did not think this, but rather the opposite. In fact, it was a common belief at the time. Although slavery was abolished decades ago, the prejudice about African Americans lingered after for a long time. An example that proves those thoughts would be the lynching of William Brown in 1919.
On the fateful day of September 26th, 1919, Agnes Loebeck, a nineteen year old girl, claimed that forty one year old William Brown, an African American, attacked and raped her, (Black Main Street) which caused news about it spread quickly. The newspaper Bee’s headline regarding the issue was this: "Black Beast First Stick-up Couple." When the police brought Brown to her house as a suspect, she confirmed that he was the assailant, her boyfriend Milton Hoffman, who was also present at the incident, agreeing. The newspaper called the incident the “most daring attack on a white woman” ever to be done in Omaha. However, before the police could leave the house, a small crowd gathered, and threatened to seize the man. Police reinforcements had to come in order to prevent the mob from doing so. They had forty six police officers and one detective to guard him throughout the night for higher security measures. Unfortunately, this was not enough to stop the violence that was like a storm cloud ready to hit Brown in a short time.
On Sunday, September 28th, the mob attacked the court house. (HighBeam Research - Newspaper Archives and Journal Articles) Albeit history failed to record itself clearly, historians gathered enough information to estimate that a thousand to fifteen thousand people gathered, and gun fires broke out between the police and the mob. The mob had looted guns from nearby stores. The exchange killed one 16-year-old leader of the mob and a 34-year-old businessman. Despite the efforts to prevent it, Brown was captured by the crowd. He was beaten to unconsciousness, then was hanged and shot at. Then his body was tied behind a car and was dragged around before it was burned, then dragged around the streets again. The men did not feel any regret doing it, seeing that they sold the pieces ropes that killed Brown for 10 cents each.
No doubt, the lynching of William Brown was not by any means justifiable. Brown never received the opportunity to take his case to the court before he was lynched by the crazed mob that was determined to kill him without hearing his part of the story. However, that was how lynching worked; it was the act of execution, especially by hanging, and by a mob without legal authority. (Dictionary) Laws against lynching was not made until the 1930s, and even then, they were enforced very loosely. () Maya Angelou, an American poet who strongly supports racial equality left a quote that reflects her belief. “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”
“Race Riot and Lynching in Omaha, Nebraska...” Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers - Historic Newspapers, www.rarenewspapers.com/view/583682?imagelist=1#full-images. Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.
Says:, Cassaundra Anderson, et al. “Never Forget: Race Riot of 1919 in Omaha -The Lynching of Will Brown.” Black Main Street, 25 Oct. 2016, blackmainstreet.net/never-forget-race-riot-1919-omaha-lynching-will-brown/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.
Interactive Media Group - Nebraska Educational Telecommunications. “NebraskaStudies.Org.” NebraskaStudies.Org, www.nebraskastudies.org/0700/frameset_reset.html?http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nebraskastudies.org%2F0700%2Fstories%2F0701_0134.html. Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.
Moshe Finkel For more information, see: Red Summer of 1919. “Omaha Race Riot of 1919.” HighBeam Research - Newspaper Archives and Journal Articles, www.highbeam.com/topics/omaha-race-riot-of-1919-t10619. Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.
“Lynch.” Dictionary.com, Dictionary.com, www.dictionary.com/browse/lynch?s=t. Accessed 23 Apr. 2017.
Siegel, Robert. “Anti-Lynching Law in U.S. History.” NPR, NPR, 13 June 2005, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4701576. Accessed 23 Apr. 2017.
Pages in category "Lynching"
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