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PHOTO ESSAY

Jim Crow Justice

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Jesse Washington

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

The 1916 lynching of seventeen year-old Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas, has come to be known as the "Waco Horror. " Washington was arrested for the murder of Lucy Fryer, the white wife of a farmer in nearby Robinson, Texas. Eventually confessing to charges of rape and murder while in custody, he received a trial and was found guilty by an all-white jury after only four minutes of deliberation. Before sentence could be passed, the audience seized Washington and dragged him outside, where he was beaten, mutilated, and burnt alive in front of the Waco city hall. No members of the mob were prosecuted. However, the incident was widely condemned in the press and became a rallying cry for the then-recently formed NAACP in its struggle to pass a federal antilynching bill.

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