IDA J. WELLS SPEAKS
SHE DENOUNCES THE WHOLESALE LYNCHING IN TENNESSEE,
And Says It Is High Time Steps Were Taken to Make Such Crimes Impossible.
Chicago, Sept. 2 – Ida J. Wells, the young colored woman whose work on the lecture platform here and abroad in behalf of the anti-lynching movement has made her name well known, could scarcely restrain her emotion when she read the published account of the fate visited upon six of her race near Millington, Tenn.
"Granting that those men were guilty of the crime charged," she said, "there is no other place in the world where a capital offense is made of burning barns. I scarcely know what to say of the men who are responsible for this butchery. This last example of lynch law is but a sample of the sort of things down in the South. The white men down there do not think any more of killing a negro than they do of slaying a mad dog. This incident serves to back up the contention that the negroes are not lynching solely for the perpetration of foul crimes, notwithstanding the symposium contributed recently to a New York newspaper by a number of Southern Congressmen, reaffirming that lynching seldom or never took place in the South except for crimes committed against women and children. An excuse is made by the whites for the purpose of shielding themselves and leaving them free to murder all the negroes they wish. Despite the history of races and nations, the Southern white man vainly believes he can keep down an entire race by such methods of oppression and intimidation. The South has more than once insisted upon being left alone with the negro problem. The Nation has obligingly accomodated her, and to-day the spectacle is presented of a so-called civilized country standing idly by and seeing one section disgrace the entire country. I think it is high time the justice-loving and law-abiding people should take some steps to make such acts impossible."
Led Them Into the Mob's Hands.
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 2. – Criminal Court Judge L. P. Cooper is determined to punish the members of the mob who lynched six alleged negro incendiaries near Millington, Tenn., Friday night. Four more men were arrested on bench warrants today charging them with complicity in the lynching. Their names are J. D. Laxton, E. N. Atkinson, J. W. Walker and W. G. Thompson. From facts brought out to-day it appears that detective Richards knew that an attempt would be made to lynch the prisoners, and deliberately led them into the hands of the mob. Several citizens had warned the officer against starting to Memphis in a wagon and urged him to place a heavy guard around the prisoners until the arrival of the train. A number of citizens volunteered to act as guards, but Richardson declined their offer.
The funeral of the victims of the vigi-ants occured at Kerrville, Tenn., to-day. No demonstration of any kind occurred. The lynching has aroused a storm of indignation. The Commercial-Appeal editorially says: "It was a deed of almost inconceivable savagery, an act of cold-blooded, brutal, devilish atrocity that makes every nerve writhe with horror and the heart sick with loathing for the bloody beasts that committed it. Every man responsible for the foul crime is a wretch whose feet would defile the gallows and whose neck would disgrace the rope that strangled him. The whole community must bear the odium of a deed done by a band of ruffian midnight assassins, unless it takes action to clear itself of all responsibility. The lynchers must be brought to justice."
The Indianapolis journal. (Indianapolis [Ind.]), 03 Sept. 1894. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015679/1894-09-03/ed-1/seq-3/>