Freedom’s Journal Reports a Lynching

09 Oct


Note: you may boycott a director of a movie, but you cannot easily boycott a history as painful or as cruel as a certain people have endured for centuries.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, June 20, 1827

Horrid Occurance – Some time during the last week one of those outrageous transactions – and we really think, disgraceful to the character of civilized man, took place near the north east boundary line of Perry, adjoining Bibb and Autanga counties. The circumstances we are informed by a gentleman from that county are – That a Mr. McNeily having lost some clothing or some other property, of no great value, the slave of a neighboring planter was charged with the theft. McNeily in company with his brother, found the Negro driving his master’s wagon, they seized him, and either did or were about to chastise him, when the Negro stabbed McNeily so that he died in an hour afterwards; the Negro was taken before a Justice of the Peace, who after serious deliberation, waived his authority – perhaps through fear, as the crowd of persons from the above counties had collected to the number of seventy or eighty, near Mr. People’s (the justice) house. He acted as President of the mob, and put the vote, when it was decided he should be immediately executed by being burnt to death– then the sable culprit was led to a tree and tied to it, and a large quantity of pine knots collected and placed around him, and the fatal torch was applied to the pile, even against the remonstances of several gentlemen who were present; and the miserable being was in a short time consumed to ashes. An inquest was held over the remains and the Sherriff of Perry county, with a company of about twenty men, repaired to the neighborhood where this barbarous act took place, to secure those concerned, but with what success we have not heard, but we hope he will succeed in bringing the perpetrators of so highhanded a measure to account to their country for their conduct in this affair. This is the second Negro who has been thus put to death, without Judge or Jury in that county.

The following is from The Negro Heritage Library: The Winding Road to Freedom, Educational Heritage, Inc. (1965)

For more information about the Freedom Journal, please visit these websites:

Freedom’s Journal -Wisconsin Historical Society

Freedom’s Journal – PBS

Black Past.Org

Accessible Archives


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Posted by on October 9, 2016 in Uncategorized


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