Episode 9 Hanging Bridge Shubuta, Mississppi

Six documented lynchings were carried out on a bridge in Shubuta, Mississippi during the lynching era. Four in 1918 and two in 1942. Known as the Hanging Bridge, it still stands as a haunting reminder of racial terror. Hear the story below…

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Roadblock near the Hanging Bridge (Photo: Lance Warren)

Learn more about the Hanging Bridge
Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence and America’s Civil Rights Century. Jason Morgan Ward’s book is an important read not only in understanding and learning more about the history of Shubuta bridge but the bigger picture of civil rights and race in the 20th century.

Episode Sources
Ferranti, Seth (2016, April 17). This Bridge in Mississippi Has Hosted Decades of Racial Violence
Hall, Stephen (2016, November 14). Racial Violence and America’s Civil Rights Century: An Interview with Jason Morgan Ward

Music
Performed by Ross Gentry. Courtesy of Headway Recordings in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more here

Episode 8: Elmore Bolling Lowndes County, Alabama

Just off Hwy 80, near Lownesboro, Alabama, is a marker situated in the center of a small gated area. Elmore Bolling’s name is inscribed on the marker. He was a successful black businessman who ran an inclusive business in the Jim Crow South and was known for his philanthropy. In 1947, Elmore was murdered by a group of white men who were angry about Elmore’s success.

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Learn more about Elmore Bolling and his life
The Bolling Foundation
Penalty for Success by Josphine Bolling McCall

Music
Performed by Ross Gentry. Courtesy of Headway Recordings in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more here

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Elmore Bolling memorial marker at lynching site in Lowndes County, Alabama
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Josephine Bolling McCall holds a photo of her father, Elmore (Photo: Jay Reeves / AP)

Episode 7: Christmas Lynchings

Black Americans weren’t spared lynching on Christmas Day during the lynching era.

Featured in this episode are the stories of three lynchings

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December 25, 1901
Prairie Blossom Community, Lamar County, Texas

Reverend J N McClinton, a farmer and popular preacher, was inside on Christmas night when he heard men outside of his home, shouting for him to come outside. The pastor assumed it was a group of Christmas frolikers having some fun and joking around. He ignored their calls. Later that night, they would return.

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June 30, 1944 letter from NAACP Florida lawyer Harry Moore to NAACP’s Thurgood Marshall. Letter addresses grand jury refusing to indict killers of 15 year old James Howard

December 25, 1906
Scooba, Kemper County, Mississippi
December of 1906 was a particularly violent month in Kemper County, Mississippi. What’s been referred to as riots, was a series of lynchings that resulted in the death of between 12 – 15 men. The lynching of Colvin Nicholson became known as one of the most violent in Mississippi since Reconstruction.

December 1943
Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida

15 year old Willie James Howard was known to his friends and family as  “jolly” and “lovable.” He sent Christmas cards to all of his co workers at the local five and dime store, including a white co-worker he had a crush on. The girl, Cynthia Goff, was offended by the card and Willie James mentioning he had a crush on her.

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Harry and Harriette Moore with daughters Evangeline and Annie

Cynthia did what Willie James never imagined she would do…she showed the card to her father who became enraged and set out to find Willie James.

More about this episode
60 Years Later, a Cry for Justice in Florida Killing by Audra D.S. Burch, McClatchy-Tribune

The Legacy of Harry T. Moore, PBS.org

Music
Performed by Ross Gentry. Courtesy of Headway Recordings in Asheville, North Carolina.

Learn more here

Episode 6: Lyerly Murders and Salisbury Lynching in Rowan County, North Carolina

In the summer of 1906, five members of a prominent white farming family, were murdered in Salisbury, North Carolina. With no evidence, only an accusation, six black sharecroppers were accused of the murders. Within the next month, three more innocent lives would be taken in Rowan County.

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The accused were:
Nease Gillespie
John Gillespie
Jack Dillingham
Della Dillingham
George Irvin
Henry Lee Gillespie

More about this episode
Read more about the lynching in “A Game Called Salisbury” by Susan Barringer Wells

Read about the theory of who may have killed the Lyerly Family in  “The Man From the Train” by Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James

Text of Reconciliation Resolution proposed by Salisbury Mayor Al Heggens

WSOC TV Interview with Mayor Al Heggens “Mayor wants to pass resolution apologizing for 1906 lynchings” by Tina Terry

Music
Performed by Ross Gentry. Courtesy of Headway Recordings in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more here

Episode 5: Elwood Higginbotham – Lafayette County, Mississippi

September 17, 1935 – Oxford, Mississippi (Lafayette County)

Elwood Higginbotham, a black sharecropper and union leader, is on trial for the murder of his white neighbor.

An all white jury had been empanelled for the trial. Elwood Higginbotham’s defense…was that he killed his neighbor in defense of his home and property.

When jury deliberations began, rumors began to spread that the jury was understanding of Higginbottom’s actions. A white mob formed outside the courthouse, angered by the rumor that Higginbotham could get away with the murder of a white man.

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Glass jar containing soil collected from Higginbotham lynching site. Displayed in National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery, AL. Photo by Equal Justice Initiative

More about Elwood Higginbotham and efforts to memorialize him

Read Kyleen Burke’s research about the life and death of Elwood Higginbotham. Uncovering the Story of the Hero of the Sharecroppers

A Lynching’s Long Shadow by Vanessa Gregory, professor and writer in Oxford, Mississippi

Family of Elwood Higginbotham visit site of lynching Oxford Citizen’s coverage of the Higginbotham family visit to Oxford, Mississippi

Elwood Higginbotham Marker Unveiling Event in Oxford, Mississippi

Episode 4: Frazier and Julia Baker – Florence County, South Carolina

In 1897, Frazier Baker,  became the first African American postmaster of Lake City, South Carolina. The circumstances of his lynching in 1898 shocked many in the country and galvanized the anti-lynching movement to seek federal intervention

More about Frazier and Julia Baker lynching and aftermath

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“The Mob at the Lake City Post Office–An Artist’s Portrayal,” reproduced from Boston Post August 10, 1899

Collection of newspaper articles chronicling lynching of Frazier Baker and articles that covered the Federal trial. Also includes articles about Lavinia Baker’s move to Boston after the lynching

This Cruel War – Investigation into Lynching Series: Frazier Baker

Media coverage of Frazier Baker historical marker dedication ceremony, with text from speech by Dr. Chestnut

Music
Performed by Ross Gentry. Courtesy of Headway Recordings in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more here

Episode 3: Rubin Stacy – Broward County, Florida

In July of 1935 Rubin Stacy was accused of attacking a white woman. A white mob, that included the local sheriff, lynched Stacy. A photo of the lynching was so disturbing that the NAACP used it in a campaign to call for anti-lynching legislation.

Lynching of Rubin Stacy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, July 19, 1935, United States, New York, Schomburg Center. (Photo by Photo12/UIG/Getty Images)

More about this episode
The Day They Lynched Reuben Stacey by Bryan Brooks July 17, 1988 | Includes first hand accounts from witness and participant in lynching

Memorial recalls a Broward mob killing that became a macabre public festival by Fred Grimm May 3, 1018

Racist, Corrupt – and Sheriff by John Dolen. December 1, 2017

Woodlawn Connection: Rubin Stacy By Chelsea Blackmon (Rubin’s great-great niece)

Music
Performed by Ross Gentry. Courtesy of Headway Recordings in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more here

Episode 2: Mary Turner – Brooks County, Georgia

In May of 1918, a white farmer was murdered in Brooks County, Georgia. Within a week of his death, 11 African Americans would be lynched, including Mary Turner, who called for the arrest of the men who lynched her husband

Mary Turner Historical Marker | Photo by Michael Rivera


More about Mary Turner and the Lynching Rampage of 1918
Learn more about the Mary Turner Project The organization is always looking for more people to get involved in their work for racial justice and reconciliation

The Mary Turner Project (MTP) is a diverse, grassroots volunteer collective of students, educators, and local community members who are committed to racial justice and racial healing. That commitment involves educating ourselves and others about the presence of racism, the multiple forms of racism, and the effects of racism, so that we may become involved in eliminating racism. Much of our work centers on research driven community engagement and action relative to past and current racial injustice. The group meets monthly, sponsors two to three major events annually, and currently is working on three initiatives. The first of those includes the creation of a free, searchable, web based database on U.S. slavery. The second initiative involves the creation of a free, searchable database on all known lynchings in the U.S. And our third initiative involves a collaborative campaign to engage state sponsored Confederate culture in Georgia. As part of our ongoing work, the MTP also organizes an annual Mary Turner Commemoration each May. That multiracial, multi generational event is attended by people from all over the country. It involves a shared meal, a short program, reflections from the descendants of the 1918 lynching victims, and a caravan out to the site of Mary Turner’s murder. There the group shares thoughts, poetry, song and prayers. The public is always invited to this historic event which takes place in Hahira, Georgia. Below are a few scenes from the 2010 gathering.

Music
Performed by Ross Gentry. Courtesy of Headway Recordings in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more here

Episode 1: History of Lynching in America

Before you hear stories of victims of color line murders, it’s important to understand the  history of lynching in America and how lynching became an acceptable act of racial terror in the American South.


White men and boys pose with the body of Lige Daniels after he was lynched  | August 3, 1920, in Center, Texas.  Equal Justice Initiative

Learn more about the history of lynching
Read the report “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror”, by the staff of the Equal Justice Initiative

Music
Performed by Ross Gentry. Courtesy of Headway Recordings in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more here

Preview of Color Lines Murders | Podcast coming Monday Oct 8

Thanks to those of you who have already subscribed to The Color Line Murders and shared about the release on October 8th. Your encouragement and support means the world to me.  You can hear a preview of the 1st episode below. You’ll have new episodes in your pod player on Monday.

If you’re new here, welcome! My name is Shannon Ballard and my new podcast is called The Color Line Murders. It’s a historical true crime podcast that tells the stories of victims of lynching in the American South. Why am I launching a podcast about lynching victims? The answer to that question is here.  You can subscribe to the podcast here or search for The Color Line Murders in your preferred podcast player.