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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.

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