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About The Nebraskan. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1892-1899 | View Entire Issue (March 23, 1894)
Lynch Law in the South,
nv c. II. andukss, doank colluok.
For more limn u ,mrlor of a century
our country 1ms been fico from serious
danger. Questions have arisen, U ifl
true, which have claimed the attention
of the moat thoughtful tilutesninn, qtto
llous Involving the moral as well as the
financial Interests of our people. Some
of these questions still await the coining
of a clearer hralu to envelope their solu
tion, hut none of them have seriously en
dangered our nation's peace,
There Is, however a dark cloud ap
pearing in our southern sky which can
hardly escape the notice of the most
careless observer, freighted with retri
bution for a down-trodden race, it rises
higher and higher, threatening to hide
from us the sunshine of peace and to
break over our heads In a fearful storm
of internal strife. I refer to the system
of lynching so prevalent In our southern
states today. That a body of American
citizens, enjoying the refining inlluences
of Christian civill.atiou, could be trans
formed into a frenzied mob, looking
with a fiendish satisfaction upon the
mortal agony of a fellow being, seems
impossible. Yet that our people are
capable of entertaining such emotions
has been proven so often and so conclu
sively, we can no longer remain incredu
lous The hour is midnight and the usual
quiet of a southern city is broken by
strange o.i.itemeut. The inky blackness
of the sky is lighted up with lurid (lames,
and human faces are revealed, dark with
angry passion. What is the cause of
such strange commotion? What deed of
infamy is contemplated begging the dark
ness of midnight to cover its shame? Ilo
you see that negro crouching in terror at
the feet of his captors. lfor him have
the fagots been lighted. Upon him
are to be poured vials of wrath
and indignation almost inhu
man. A crime has been committed, a
crime of a nature so hen ions as to de
serve the severest punishment at the
hands of the law. Suspicion has cen
tered upon him as the perpetrator of the
deed. Conviction of guilt has not been
secured. He has been consigned to the
city jail for safe keeping. Hut bolted
doors and bars of iron are not strong
enough to withstand the madness of a
frenzied mob. In ruthless haste he is
taken from his cell and dragged to the
place of death. In vain he protests his
innocence. In vain he pleads ""or justice.
The mob in its blind passion seeks not
justice but vengeance, and his pleading
falls on unheeding ears. Merciless hands
bind him to the slake, and heap the
fire brand around him, and as his life
goes out in mortal agony, the dark pall
of lawlessness, which is settling like the
shades of night over our laud, seems
lower and blacker than before, and the
mutterings of the approaching storm
grow fiercer and more ominous.
A body of men have been guilty of a
crime more dangerous and far-reaching
in its results than was the one which
they sought to punish. They have set
aside all the principles upon which safe
government is based. The constitution
of the United States provides that a
man shull be confronted in open
court by his accusers. They
have chosen the midnight hour and
the burning stake. Justice presumes
innocence until guilt is proven. They
huve required their victim to prove his
innocence, yet have given him no oppor
tunity for so doing. Setting aside all
principles of law and order, usurping
the prerogatives of government, they
have constituted themselves judge, jury
und executor, and have entered upon
their work in u spirit which allowed no
word of entreaty or explanation. They
may style themselves the preservers of
society, the avengers of outraged, inno
cence, but in the eyes of the law they
are outlaws and in the sight of God
murderers. Their hearts have been
hardened, their valuation of human life
depreciated to a degree not easily esti
mated, and public opinion, by Us silence,
lowers its standard of morality and be
comes a participant in the crime.
The advocates of lynch law, in defense
of their position, urge the extreme prov
ocation which goads them to deperation.
They say, "Whatever characteristics
may be ours ns a people, we cherish the
safetv and honor of our women. Tue
lives of our mothers and sisters are
dearer to us than our own, and any at
tempt to shroud them in dishonor calls
forth our indignation ns can no other
crime or combination of crimes." Grant
ing the tt.ith of their statement, this
fact instead of excusing mob violence
but affords another argument against it.
With such a public sentiment as exists
at the south, the plea that the criminal
may escape conviction Is untenable, A
jury could not be found who would not
convict on the slightest evidence a ne
gro charged with such a crime. With
wealth, race prejudice and an en
raged populace arrayed against
him, there Is more danger that the inno
cent be "found guilty" than that the
ctimiiinl go unpunished. Why then
deny him a trial? Why Imperil the
sacred Interests of society under such
The negro feels keenly the injustice of
mob law. lie realizes that a white man
charged with a similar crime against one
of his race, if punished at all, would at
least be given a fair tr'al. Although sub
missive under great persecution the
negro is not a coward. Do we forget the
nssault on Port Wagner? Yottder, ad
vancing beneath the btortn that hurst in
fury from the clouds, moves one solitary
brigade against the fort, now grim and
silent but soon to blaze with the fires of
hell. I.ook! revealed by the play of the
lightning see that regiment that leads
the column moving on to death. Heboid
the gleam of swarthy faces lit by the fire
of manhood's courage, "Let my men
lead the charge'1 was the request of the
gallant colonel. For to that regiment of
slaves this battle meant more than to face
the storm of iron, more than to pour out
their life-blood on the field of carnage.
It meant the vindication of their man
hood. Behind them two hundred years
of slavery. llcfore them the shining
dreams of glorious liberty for their peo
ple. And under the storm of Sumpter's
guns and Wagner's shot and shell, be
neath the roll of the thunder und the
gleam of the lightning, in the sights of
the nation and of omnipotent God, they
wrote the vindication of their manhood
in deeds whose memory shall never die.
Shall we find their courage less when
with the God-born love of justice stirred
within them, they shall fight again; not
for the white man but against him, not
to bear aloft the sky-born flag we honor
as the emblem of freedom, equality, fra
ternity, but to trample it in the dust
as the symbol to them of slavery, oot
But injustice is not the only evil aris
ing out of this system of mob law. The
breach between the two races is con
stantly widening. Each administration
of lynch law renders race prejudice more
bitter. Both races are becoming so per
vaded with the spirit of vengeance tint
civilization is in a measure yielding to
barbarism. It is our duty and privilege
as a race to teach the negro obedience to
law. but can this be done by deeds of
outlawry? lie. should be taught a higher
valuation of human life, but can this be
done by the atrocities of mob violence?
The answer is obvious. The white man
and the negro must learn the divine les
son that they are alike, the handiwork
of God, that their difference in color is
in accordance with His will, and that
they owe to each other that love which
the Son of Man sought to inculcate.
The one maddened by outrages perpe
trated against the helpless the other
enraged, yea brutalized by the red
handed injustice administered in retalia
tion the smoldering, muttering Vesuv
ius of unrighted wrongs will one day
burst forth in au eruption whose horrors
no words can describe and whose
shock will imperil the foundations of all
government. Where, then, lies the
satisfactojy solution of this problem?
By what treatment of the negro shull
past crime be punished and future crime
be lessened? Shull there be further re
sort to processes ns barbarous as those of
savage tribes? Rather let every criminal
feel the strong arm of the law. Let him
be made to realize thut his is a crime
against the government as well as against
society, and that to government as the
protector of society must he pay the pen
alty. Let the punishment be mude as
severe as you will, only let it be legal
and inflicted after legal conviction of
No one can doubt the uplifting influ
ence of intellectual and moral teaching.
They are silent but resistless forces that
move on to victory, when bayonets and
cannon are powerless to achieve it.
They have set in motion those mighty
passions and ideals without which
Homer had never sung and Shakespeare's
voice been silent as the tomb, Greece
had been by name and England only an
island in the sea. These forces can re
form the negro. Wherever the school-
house stands by the roadside, there is a
present safeguard of society and a proph
ecy of higher life for the future. Where
ver the church spires rise heavenwArd
und the Sabbath bells ring with solemn
melody the call to worship, there is the
promise of lurger, sweeter life for the
nation and the world. The march of
mind is ever onward and upward and
the ntlll small voice of conscience
ever whispers to the soul of its Divine
Creator. When those conditions pre
vail, that crime which moves an Indig
nant people to deeds of violence will be
come a thing of the past, Tile negro
and the while will look with equal hor
ror at the deeds which today are of such
common occurrence. Hut the abolition
of lynching need not await the removal
of provocation. Both facts must be
weighed in the golden balance of justice.
Both arc evil f 1 and as such must be elim
inated, but the lynching must go, though
the provocation remain, for by its use
the removal of provocutlou is rendered
more and more difficult of consumma
tion, Lynching is in itself a violation of all
law and a menace to all government.
Though Its victim be guilty beyond ques
tion, it can but bring about evil results.
It tears down all respect for authority,
tramples upon all rights of the individ
ual, and sets up as its motto, "Let crime
punish crime " Such a principle is op
posed lc all organized society, and leads
to anarchy. The negro cries for justice
in dealing with social crime. He asks
not that the guilty go unpunished but
that the supposed criminal be given au
opportunity to prove his innocence be
fore a court of justice. If his cry be
heard, reason will have conquered pas
sion, und thirst for vengeance will cease
to transform human beings into murder
ous fiends. If his request be denied,
this nation must suffer the penalty of its
wrong doing. Shall it be by the slow
and deadly decay of moral fibre long
abused, or torn with contending factious
will it sink into insignificance while
Freedom spreads her wings and flies to
some fairer land, and the names of Ply
mouth Rock and Faueuil Hull fade into
the land of dreams and shadows?
Or shall we wake some day and start to
hear again the roar of Sumpter's guns
and see the black columns, not slaves
but men, moving ugaiust a nation at
whose hands they have suffered unutter
able wrong? There is one who knows.
To-night He sits upon the throne of His
power. "With Him is no variableness
neither shadow of turning." "He shall
not fall nor be discouraged till II hath
set judgment." What to Him were the
blotting out of a nation to the establish
ment of the everlasting Justice!
The plumber came down like a wolf on
His pocket well crammed full of solder
Five hours and a half he made love to
And sixty five dollars he charged in his
The car-horse old and weary, went toil
ing up the hill,
He saw the motor broken and the cable
He murmured as he braced his feet and
gave a tired out ynwn,
"My name may not be lightning, but I'll
get there before dawn."
The Deliau New Members' program is
arranged for Friday evening, March 30.
The young women of the University
Y. W. C. A. will give an entertainment
in chapel on Saturday evening, March
24. They will render in pantomimic
burlesque "Old Muids Made Over to Or
der," "Girls' Gymnasium," "The Old
Time Spelling Class," and other scenes
from real and unreal life. Excellent vo
cal and instrumental music bus been
provided. The Y. W. C. A. "Belle
Chorus" will take a prominent part and
Miss Blair will also assist with a vocal
selection. An admission of 15c will be
charged for the purpose of ruisiug funds
to provide for the expenses of their del
egute to the Luke Geneva Bible school
Miss Gardener 'o7 has been confined
to her room 011 account of illness this
week. Hermuny friends will be glad to
hear of her improved condition. She
will be able to attend classes again in 11
REMAINDER OF THE COLhEOE
26 GRNTS !
Subscriptions repeived. by
Whltmore & Horneg.
HIGH CLASS WORK A SPECIALTY,
SPECIAL INDUCEMENTS TO
12(1 North Eleventh Street,
LINCOLN, - NEBRASKA.
Fine Baked Goods
High Grade Confections
Ice Cream and Ices
NEW YORK BA
130 SOUTH TWELFTH ST.
Do 3'ou buy reacfy
made clothing when
you can have a suit
to order for the same
Wanamakor & Brown's Samples
L A. BUMSTEAD'S
Lindell Hotel Block.
1236 M Street.
Call and see list of Student
K. H. GLEKSON.
Teas, Coffees and Spices.
1234 O STREET.
Twice a Week. J-XVLy. 04.
First National Bank,
N. S. HA It WOOD, President.
OIIAS. A. IIANNA, Vice President.
P. M.COOK, ambler.
J. S. FKKK.MAN, Ass't Cashiers
N. S. Hurwood .1. 1). MiieParlunii
W. M. Clnrko T. M. Muriiiotlo
Cluis. H. Milium John II. Ames
John Pltzurenild H. K. Moore
I). W. Cook O. T. Hows
KM. Cook J. L. Cursoit
A. H. Clark
.!. H. WrlKht. P. K. Johnson. J. H. McCla.v
President. Vlce-Predent. Cashier.
John A. Ames, Ass't Cash.
She : Columbia
CIiiih. West. Tho.
A. S. ituynmnd
Boiled Oil 55 cents,
Strictly St. Louis Lead $5.50.
B. O. KOSTKA,
Druggist and Painters' Supplies
1224 O STREET.
I ' 1 ' ' I'm
CHAS. B GREGORY
(U. OK N, Mil.)
5X At 1100 0 Street. fc
SHIRTS! SHIRTS I
MuiiufuuturoN blw wii Shir s. Thoy lit tlio
form and (douse the eye.
A I'UI.I, LlN'K 01' . . .
HATS, CAPS, ETC.
Oil' RlilrlsKodlreet from the nmnufucturcr
to t ho eonsnmor. No middlemen's proilts.
Ten pi-r win tllpcotiut to bIuiIuiiIh.
1)3!) 0 Street, Haseinent Slate National
Hutchins & Hyatt
MAKE A SPECIALTY OF
5Ca lion City,
Ml Kinds oi COAL & WOOD on Hand
1004 O St. Telephone 225.
YOU ran have the DAILY
WORLD-HERALD delivered at
your room for 15 cent? per week, seven
days in the week. DROP A POSTAL
or leave your order at 1045 O St.
PANTS TO ORDER
$4 $5 TO $10.
Largest line of Woolens in the Htntu.
Lincoln Pants Co.
1223 O STREET.
C. A. SHOEMAKER, M. D.
Olll ce. No
Ii:il L Street, Ground Floor.
to 9 ii. in.; l to :i, and 7 to 8 p. in
We earnestly Invite all Stu
dents to visit our store before
making any purchases In the
line of Dry Goods, Cloaks,
Ladles' Furnishing Goods and
Men's Furnishing Goods. Our
stocks are especially attractive.
We refer new students to any of
the professorsor any old stu
dent in the University as to
our manner of doing business.
MILLER & PAINE.
133 to 135 South Eleventh St.
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