Jim Crow Violence: Examples of Riots and Lynchings, 1921-1955 African American, Arrests, Black, Color, Court, Crowd, Discrimination, Fire, Great Migration, Jail, Jobs, Mobs, Negro, Neighborhood, Police, Rape, Segregation, Soldiers, South, Supremacy, Town, White

Jim Crow Violence: Examples of Riots and Lynchings, 1921-1955 [The editors of Americans All ] (c.1921 - c.1955) African American, Arrests, Black, Color, Court, Crowd, Discrimination, Fire, Great Migration, Jail, Jobs, Mobs, Negro, Neighborhood, Police, Rape, Segregation, Soldiers, South, Supremacy, Town, White

[Note: Each group of entries cannot exceed 2,000 words, so the timeframes are structured accordingly. The “Jim Crow Violence” story is made up of six entities, and each one has a different photograph collection. The number in the [bold bracket] is linked to its respective entry in the text and, where possible, the entry and the image appear on the same page. The number in the [bold bracket] is linked to its respective entry in the text and, where possible, the entry and the image appear on the same page.]

Race Riots and Lynchings​

1921 (Tulsa, Oklahoma): On May 31, Dick Rowland, a Black man, the son of prominent Black businessman got onto an elevator on the third floor of the Drexel Building For some unintentional reason, he came into contact with Sarah Page, the white elevator operator, and Page cried out--rape. Her cry was heard by a store clerk, who called police. Rowland was arrested and police launched an investigation for allegedly assaulting a 17-year-old white elevator operator. Accounts of the assault were exaggerated, and a mob of armed white men gathered outside the Tulsa County Courthouse where Rowland is being held. (Video) (Video)  Groups of Tulsans arm themselves, some wanting to protect Rowland, and others bent on lynching him. Hardware stores and pawn shops are looted of guns and ammunition as the situation spirals out of control. Gunfire erupts between the officers guarding the Courthouse and the mob. Between midnight and 6 a.m. on June 1, a white mob invades the Greenwood, the wealthiest Black community in the country (known as the "Black Wall Street"), [15] shooting African American residents and burning homes and businesses. Private planes were used to drop firebombs. About 1,250 homes were destroyed and the Red Cross estimated that 300 people were killed. The Oklahoma National Guard was called in and they approximately 6,000 Blacks. By dawn, the Black district of Tulsa is in ruins. Governor James Brooks Ayers Robertson declares martial law at 11:30 a.m. It is lifted that afternoon and U.S. Attorney General Harry Micajah Daugherty orders an investigation into the riots. Robertson orders Oklahoma Attorney General Freeling to investigate the situation and preserve evidence for a grand jury hearing. A lawsuit for damages was filed in 2003 Alexander, et al., v. Oklahoma, Tenth Circuit 04-5042, but a federal judge ruled that the lawsuit was many years too late; the Tenth Circuit upheld that result as did the U.S. Supreme Court.

1922 (Perry, Florida): The race riot was a racially motivated conflict on December 14 and 15. Whites burned African American Charles Wright at the stake in a lynching and attacked the Black community after the murder of Ruby Hendry, a white schoolteacher. Wright, a 21-year-old escaped convict, and Albert (or Arthur) Young, his alleged accomplice, were arrested and jailed for Hendry's murder. A mob several thousand strong, made up of local and out-of-state whites, seized the accused from the sheriff, and forced a "confession" from Wright by torturing him. Wright claimed to have acted alone. He was subsequently burned at the stake and the crowd collected souvenirs of his body parts and clothing. Following this, two more Black men were shot and hanged. Whites burned the town's black school, Masonic lodge, church, amusement hall, and several families' homes.

1923 (Rosewood, Florida): The Rosewood massacre was a racially motivated attack on Black people and destruction of a Black town during the first week of January. (Video) Several incidents were responsible for this happening. In 1922, a white schoolteacher was murdered and the Ku Klux Klan held a rally near Rosewood the previous New Year's Eve. On New Year's day, 22-year-old Fanny Taylor who live in a nearby town, Sumner, was attacked and claim it was done by a Black drifter. A mob went searching and found that he had been hidden at the home of blacksmith Sam Carter. When the mob arrived, Carter pressured in taking them to find him. But the alleged attacker could not be found. As revenge, Carter was then shot and lynched and the mob of several hundred whites combed the countryside hunting for black people and burned almost every structure in Rosewood. [47] Survivors from the town hid for several days in nearby swamps until they were evacuated by train and car to larger towns. No arrests were made for what happened in Rosewood. The mob then destroyed the town, which had been a quiet, primarily Black, self-sufficient whistle stop on the Seaboard Air Line Railway, was abandoned by its former black and white residents; none ever moved back, none were ever compensated for their land, and the town ceased to exist. 

1925 (Michigan, Detroit): The home of Black physician, Ossian Sweet, became the site of a racial incident that resulted in a nationally publicized murder trial. Dr. Sweet, a graduate of Howard University Medical School, bought a house in an all-white neighborhood. On July 14, the neighborhood's residents protested his plans to move in and stated that they intended to retain what they called "the present high standards of the neighborhood." On September 8, Sweet, his wife, and nine gun-carrying associates moved into the house under police escort. The next night a large crowd of whites began pelting the house with rocks and bottles; they then rushed the house. A volley of gunshots issued forth from the second story windows, killing one man and seriously wounding another. The Detroit police arrested Sweet and his companions and charged them with first-degree murder. The NAACP hired Clarence Darrow and it ended in a mistrial. It became a precedent for individuals, regardless of race, to protect life and liberty in dangerous situations. (Video)    (Video)

1927 (Little Rock, Arkansas): In April, the dead body of a 12-year-old girl, Floella McDonald, after missing for three weeks, was discovered in the First Presbyterian Church. The police arrested the church's janitor and his 17-year-old son, Lonnie Dixon, for the murder. Fearing that a lynch mob would attack the jail, they were moved to a jail in an adjoining county. Tensions ran high and on May 4, a 38-year-old Black man, John Carter, allegedly attacked a white woman and her daughter near Little Rock. An armed mob found him and hanged him [4] from a telephone poll and shot him as well. His body was dragged through the city to the center of the Black community and was set on fire. A grand jury was convened to investigate the incident, but it deadlocked and was dismissed without issuing indictments.

1931 (Scottsboro, Alabama): On March 25, the Southern Railway line between Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee, had nine Black youths, ages 12-19, who were riding (hoboing) on a freight train with several white males and two white women. A fight broke out between the white and Black groups near the Lookout Mountain tunnel, and the whites were kicked off the train. They went to a sheriff in the nearby town of Paint Rock, Alabama, and claimed that they were assaulted by the Blacks on the train. The sheriff gathered a posse and gave orders to search for and "capture every Negro on the train." The posse arrested all Black passengers on the train for assault. The two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, told a member of the posse that they had been raped by a group of Black teenagers. A mob brought the women to the jail where the accused were being held, and they identified them as their attackers. A doctor was summoned to examine Price and Bates for signs of rape, but none was found. A widely published photo showing the two women shortly after the arrests showed no evidence (beyond the women's testimony) pointing to the guilt of the accused, yet that was irrelevant due to the prevalent racism in the South