Jesse Washington Lynching
Society in the South evolved ensuing the emancipation of slaves after the Civil War. The Reconstruction of the South ended in 1877 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 1890s all across the United States, but mostly in the South. Lynching escalated during the 1920s and Texas ranked third among states between the years 1885 and 1942 with approximately 468, including 339 blacks. The only states that had more lynching incidents were Mississippi and Georgia.
In May 1916, Jesse Washington, a seventeen year old black teenager, 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, 1916, 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. The mob of white citizens wrapped a chain around Washington’s neck and dragged him to city hall grounds, brutally stabbing and beating him as they went along.
#I CANT BREATHE