15 March, 1893-
Pike County, Alabama
In reporting the lynching of Tom Brunson by a crowd of hundreds at Munn’s Mill in Pike County in March, 1893, several newspaper articles briefly stated that, as a posse searched for Brunson, they found and lynched another black man, unnamed in all of these reports. The only information these articles provided stated that the man was another “black rapist” and that “his crime was committed in an adjoining county.” Newspaper accounts of lynchings often contained uncertain, contradictory, false information, or, as in this case, incomplete information, which further dehumanized the victims of racial violence. While we don’t know who was lynched that night in addition to Tom Brunson, or even if another lynching actually took place, scholars estimate that the majority of lynchings were never reported at all, and that the over 4000 known and documented lynchings represent only the tip of the iceberg of racial violence. This possible, unnamed victim of mob violence in Pike County in 1893 thus in many ways represents that vast number of victims of lynchings, near lynchings, riots, and mob violence whose names were never reported, but whose families and communities nonetheless felt—and continue to pass down—the pain of their loss.
“Negro Run Down and Lynched,” Star-Gazette (Elmira, NY), 16 Mar 1893, p. 1.
“A Negro Fiend Lynched by Infuriated Citizens,” Times-Picayune, 16 Mar 1893, p. 6.
“The Mob Caught Them,” Atlanta Constitution, 17 Mar 1893, p. 1.
“More Lynching: One Negro Hung and Perhaps Another,” Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, 17 Mar 1893, p. 1.
“An Alabama Lynching,” Salt Lake Herald, 17 Mar 1893, p. 1.