The Lynching Project: Baker County
Baker County is located towards the bottom west of the state. There were 8 documented lynchings that occured within the county from 1903-1943. 6 of the lynchings were painted as a form of retribution; These men were murdered after alleged crimes, such as Murder and rape took place. The remaining two appear to be a case of mistaken identity. Over the course of the 40 years in which lynching took place within the county, the average appears to be about 1 per decade. Another noticeable trend appears to be the method of execution; the terrorists lynch and kill these victims most often through shooting. So many of the newspapers describe the killings as, "the negroes body was riddled with bullets".
The behavior in Baker county fits the typical description of the abuse blacks suffered at the hands of white southerners during this time. Lynchings are physical manifestations of society's hatred for black bodies. The white posses, sherriffs, and more, believed they were responsible for retribution to protect their society. Black men were viewed as criminals, dehumanized beyond belief. Lynching, like such in Baker County, perpetuated the mistreatment of black Americans and set just one of the many foundations for the injustices against African-American's we see today. Furthermore, our community has been lackluster in maintaining credible information about the lynching victims. There has been no known information about commemorating the lives lost. The search for the victims in Baker County was solely assisted by access to university databases.
Wiley Annette, Garfield McCoy, George McKinney (1903)
In June 1903, McCoy, Mckinney, and Annette were killed for allegedly murdering A.S. Bullard, a country planter. According to articles in the Atlanta Constitution and Chicago's Inter Ocean, the victims were allegedly drunk when Bullard tried to calm them down and they "took a revolver and shot him". Their bodies were so riddled with bullets, their clothing was shot off beyond recognition. Their friends and family weren't allowed to touch their corpses.
Charles Wilson (1910)
On May 19, 1910, Charles Wilson, and 18 year old male, was accused of attempting to rape an eight year old girl. He was hung, where his body was riddled with bullets.
Robert "Bobby" Hall (1943)
On January 29, 1943 Bobby hall was lynched by Sherriff Screws. The Hall family was white passing and had status within the Black community. Bobby Hall was accused of stealing a pistol by Sherriff Screws and Screws consficated the weapon. After a number of months had gone by, Hall eventually attempted to confront Screws to get his gun. During this encounter, Screws told Hall to come to the courthouse and shot him twice, beat him up, and dragged him to town square. Sherriff Screws lied, reporting that an "uppity negro" tried to attack him; other stories similarly say Screws falsified info and stated Hall allegedly stole a tire. This "crime" resulted in an arrest. If an individual had been arrested, you couldn't own a gun. Screws said Hall then tried to attack the police officers.
In Screws v. United States, the State and Appellate courts found Screws guilty of conspiracy to arrest and unlawfully kill a "Negro" but the Supreme Court overturned his conviction. This case set precedent, making it extremely difficult to prosecute law enforcement who killed African-Americans in "extra judicial" manners.
T. J. Thomas (June 1933)
According to The Changing Character of Lynching, "Negro, was taken from his home, hanged, and shot a week after a white man died from a gunshot wound in a fight with Ne- groes. Two Negroes arrested at the time were removed for safekeeping. T. J. Thomas was not in the fight.
William Anderson (1921)
On March 4th, 1921, Will Anderson was shot killed after a case of mistaken identity. Mobsters of Baker County were looking for Zema anthony, who Anderson was related to. Anthony had allegedly killed a police office. The Atlanta Constitution documented this in there March 6th, 1921 edition.
Henry, Williams. “Bitter Truths.” Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell about
Life in the Segregated South. Chafe, New Press, 2001, pp. 29–32.
Urofsky, Melvin. 100 Americans Making Constitutional History: a Biographical
History.” 100 Americans Making Constitutional History: a Biographical History, CQ
Press, 2004, p. 180.
“Negro IS Killed Taken for Fugitive By Baker Posse” Atlanta Constitution, 06 March 1921, p. 14.
“Three Negros are Lynched; Bodies Riddled with Bullets” The Inter Ocean, 27 June 1903, p. 1.