The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Missouri Mob Lynches Two Blacks

July 4, 1910, Lynching

July 4, 1910: Charleston, Mo. -- "Those in the yard -- the women and children -- could hear the sounds of a sledge hammer as the lock was knocked off the cell door. In a few moments a shout announced that the lock had been broken and immediately a file of men ran from the jail pulling at a long rope.

"At the end of the rope was a Negro, Bob Coleman, kicked, cuffed and knocked down by the men who struggled to get near him. The Negro was dragged to the southwest corner of the courthouse yard and hanged.

"While Coleman dangled, another body of men rushed from the jail, dragging and pulling the other Negro, Sam Fields. A rope was placed around his neck and the mob, yelling, hanged him.

"A mob was bent upon burning the Negro section of Charleston but cooler counsel prevailed and quiet was restored late tonight."

July 4, 1910, Lynching

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Comments (4)

Larry, how does this article in any way aid in the celebration of our nations independence? Was this honestly the best you could do understanding your agenda? Also what parallel does a tragic historical event in Missouri have in common with LA history?

Could you possibly get more irresponsible? This headline, "Missouri Mob Lynches Two Blacks", is being posted on all the sites that use your RSS feed as a current headline... as if this happened today! So what does a lynching in Missouri have to do with the history of LA? Why do you think this is an appropriate topic to celebrate the 4th of July? And, if you felt so strongly that this information just *HAD* to be posted, couldn't you at least have made the headline "On This Date In 1910, Missouri Mob Lynches Two Blacks"? This borders on criminal in my book.

I am originally from Charleston, MO and know of this tragic, horrific event, but have never seen the newspaper article. What I always find shocking is how white "people", women and children too, could witness such an event as if they were watching a tennis match. And note these were "people" who had just been to church probably having heard a sermon that spoke of goodwill toward fellow man. And if they did kill a white man, given the times, I am almost positive it is was due to something related to their being treated or handled in some unconscionable manner by this man. And even if I am wrong and the black men had committed some crime against him, they still should have been allowed due process. Now that I think about it, they were dead men either way because they would not have been given a fair trial. As bad as what happened to them is, at least they were not tortured and their bodies sodomized and mutiliated like so many other Black people who suffered a lynching.........

I enjoy reading history, even the tragic parts, but history without context is meaningless. The segment from Missouri history that you present seems to have nothing to do with LA and nothing to do with the Fourth of July, and says nothing about the many Missouri whites who stood against the Klan mentality in the early 1900s. Missouri, as you may recall, broke from the Union, but in quick order Union sympathizers retook the state. I have no problem dredging up Missouri’s ugly past, and there are far more incidents than the one here to recount, but lacking a demonstrable reason for regurgitating the actions of human filth is reminiscent of “jazz journalism,” also called tabloid journalism and yellow journalism, from roughly the same historic period. Please think before you publish.


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