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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Omaha Mob Burns Courthouse, Tries to Kill Mayor Before Lynching Black

Sept. 29, 1919, Lynching

Sept. 29, 1919: A mob in Omaha sets fire to the courthouse after trying to lynch Mayor Mayor Ed P. Smith when he appealed for law and order. Rioters finally lynch William Brown, an African American accused of raping a white woman. Federal troops were sent to restore order.

Oct. 1, 1919, Lynching

Oct. 1, 1919: An editorial in The Times draws a novel parallel between lynching and union activists. Then again, in 1938, The Times editorialized against a federal anti-lynching law.

Oct. 6, 1919, Lynching

The women of Omaha support the lynching and refuse to apologize for nearly hanging the mayor. They say he should do more to protect their virtue.
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Comments (2)

Wonderful choice of a historical edition in these racially charged times. Does it really matter anything to mention lynching the African American man in the teaser to this page? Try 100 years ago, the stories might be more historically significant and less divisive.

The Race Riots of 1919, in Omaha and elsewhere, were widespread and significant. It's unfortunate that most of these incidents are largely forgotten and/or ignored, and I doubt most people have even heard of the Red Summer of 1919. Race riots were all too common in that era, and in some cases (the Tulsa riot of 1921) deliberate attempts were made to pretend as though the riots never happened.


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