The New York Sun of July 30,1894, contained a synopsis of interviews with leading congressmen and editors of the South. Speaker Crisp, of the House of Representatives, who was recently a Judge of the Supreme Court of Georgia, led in declaring that lynching seldom or never took place, save for vile crime against women and children. Dr. Hass, editor of the leading organ of the Methodist Church South, published in its columns that it was his belief that more than three hundred women had been assaulted by Negro men within three months. When asked to prove his charges, or give a single case upon which his “belief” was founded, he said that he could do so, but the details were unfit for publication. No other evidence but his “belief” could be adduced to substantiate this grave charge, yet Bishop Haygood, in the Forum of October, 1893, quotes this “belief” in apology for lynching, and voluntarily adds: “It is my opinion that this is an underestimate.” The “opinion” of this man, based upon a “belief,” had greater weight coming from a man who has posed as a friend to “Our Brother in Black,” and was accepted as authority. An interview of Miss Frances E. Willard, the great apostle of temperance, the daughter of abolitionists and a personal friend and helper of many individual colored people, has been quoted in support of the utterance of this calumny against a weak and defenseless race. In the New York Voice of October 23, 1890, after a tour in the South, where she was told all these things by the “best white people,” she said: “The grogshop is the Negro’s center of power. Better whisky and more of it is the rallying cry of great, dark-faced mobs. The colored race multiplies like the locusts of Egypt. The grogshop is its center of power. The safety of woman, of childhood, the home, is menaced in a thousand localities at this moment, so that men dare not go beyond the sight of their own roof-tree.”
These charges so often reiterated, have had the effect of fastening the odium upon the race of a peculiar propensity for this foul crime. The Negro is thus forced to a defense of his good name, and this chapter will be devoted to the history of some of the cases where assault upon white women by Negroes is charged. He is not the aggressor in this fight, but the situation demands that the facts be given, and they will speak for themselves. Of the 1,115 Negro men, women and children hanged, shot and roasted alive from January 1, 1882, to January 1, 1894, inclusive, only 348 of that number were charged with rape. Nearly 700 of these persons were lynched for any other reason which could be manufactured by a mob wishing to indulge in a lynching bee.
A WHITE WOMAN’S FALSEHOOD
The Cleveland, Ohio, Gazette, January 16, 1892, gives an account of one of these cases of “rape.”