Sunday, August 14, 2011

Today -100: August 14, 1911: Of trolleys and lynchings

Yet another scene of violence and wanton trolley destruction in a street-car strike, this time, just for a change, in Glasgow.

A negro, Zachariah Walker, is lynched in Coatesville, Penn., evidently the first lynching in Pennsylvania. Walker had shot a steel company guard, and tried to kill himself when a posse closed in. Later, a mob stormed the hospital where he was being held, and finding him shackled to a bed, carried him and the bed outside, intending to take him to the scene of his crime. After a while they got tired, so they tied a rope to his leg and dragged him the rest of the way. They then burned him (and the bed) at the stake. When the bed burned away, he tried to escape, but they forced him back into the flames with pitchforks. Afterwards, the chain that had attached him to the bed was dipped in water to cool it down, then broken up for souvenirs. The NY Tribune reported: “For hours today the scorched torso of the Negro Walker was kicked around by children on the highway a short distance from where he met his death.”

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