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MAY 15th, 1916 Jesse Washington Brutally Lynched in Waco, Texas – Equal Justice Initiative

MAY 15th, 1916

Jesse Washington Brutally Lynched in Waco, Texas

On May 15, 1916, after an all-white jury convicted Jesse Washington of the murder of a white woman, he was taken from the courtroom and burned alive in front of a mob of 15,000.

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The crowd gathered to watch and/or participate in the brutal lynching grew to 15,000. Jesse Washington was chained to a car while members of the mob ripped off his clothes, cut off his ear, and castrated him. The angry mob dragged his body from the courthouse to City Hall and a fire was prepared while several assailants repeatedly stabbed him. When they tied Jesse Washington to the tree underneath the mayor’s window, the lynchers cut off his fingers to prevent him from trying to escape, then repeatedly lowered his lifeless body into the fire. At one point, a participant took a portion of Washington’s torso and dragged it through the streets of Waco. During the lynching, a professional photographer took photos which were later made into postcards.

Source: A History of Racial Injustice – Equal Justice Initiative

Although this happened 102 years ago, it’s still worth pointing out that this didn’t happen to white people even back then. Being dragged from a court room and being tortured to death for fun and profit was something that happened to black people. While lynching appears rare today, the sense of “black people are less” lives on in the casual way we accept murders of unarmed black men by police and how easily police are called into situations involving African-Americans in white places.

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