|Date(s):||July 5, 1892|
|Tag(s):||African-Americans, Crime/Violence, Health/Death, Race-Relations|
|Course:||“Rise And Fall of the Slave South,” University of Virginia|
Smith Tooley and John L. Adams were charged with the murder of Benson Blake and with many robberies. Benson Blake was a proprietor of a store in Vickburg, Mississippi. One night, he got wind that Tooley and some other Negroes were headed to rob his store. When the Negroes arrived, Benson and his friends were waiting for them. In a moment of rage, the Negroes fired through the window of the store, killing Benson and injuring his brother. Tooley and Adams, both known for their scoundrel behavior, were arrested the following day.
Late at night on July 5, a large group of over 600 men stormed the county jail where Tooley and Adams were confined. They were both seized and examined about their case. Then, they were taken into the courthouse yard and hanged from a tree.
Lynching was an illegal but unpunished form of violence. It was usually used against black men to maintain white supremacy in politics, in economics, and in the home. Lynching reached its all-time high in 1892, with 69 whites hanged and 161 blacks put to death at the hands of lynch mobs.