Lynching in Alabama

Source Type: Other
Creator: The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute
Publisher: The Tuskegee Institute
Place of publication: Tuskegee, Alabama
Date of publication: 21 February 1921

The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute Documents

February 21, 1921

Mrs. M. B. Owen,

Director Department of Archives

and History

Montgomery, Alabama.

Dear Madam:-

        In compliance with your request of January 27th, for certain information regarding lynchings in Alabama, we are sending you herewith a complete record of the lynchings in Alabama from 1871 to 1920. We hope this will be of service to you, and are very glad to comply with your request.

Yours very truly,

R.R. Motors


Lynchings in Alabama.


In Slavery Days.

        In May, 1835, two Negroes were burned to death near Mobile, for “most barbarously murdering” two children. The murderers had their trial, the result of which is given in the following paragraph taken from a Mobile paper: “As the Court pronounced the only sentence known to the law – the smothered flame broke forth. The laws of the country had never conceived that crimes could be perpetrated with such peculiar circumstances of barbarity, and had therefore provided no adequate punishment. Their lives were justly forfeited to the laws of the country, but the peculiar circumstances demanded that the ordinary punishment should be departed from – they were seized, taken to the place where they had perpetrated the act, and burned to death.” – Cutler, “Lynch Law.” p. 108

        In 1855, a Negro who had raped and murdered a young girl was brought before the Sumter County superior court in regular session. “When the case was called for trial a motion for change of venue to the county of Greene was granted. This so exasperated the citizens of Sumter (many of whom were in favor of summary punishment in the outset) that a large number of them collected on the 23d. ult., took him out of prison, chained him to a stake on the very spot where the murder was committed, and in the presence of two or three thousand Negroes and a large number of white people, burned alive.” – Phillips, “American Negro Slavery.” pp 462-463.




Total Lynchings in Alabama by Years.


Year Number Lynched.
1871-73 1 (white, shot for murder)
1882 5
1883 4
1884 3
1885 4
1886 4
1887 4
1888 9
1889 6
1890 8
1891 14
1892 14
1893 17
1894 12
1895 10
1896 13
1897 16
1898 8
1899 5
1900 8
1901 12 (Constitution adopted this year made sheriffs responsible.)
1902 4
1903 2
1904 5
1905 3
1906 6
1907 11
1908 4
1909 8
1910 8
1911 2
1912 8
1913 2
1914 2
1915 9
1916 1
1917 4
1918 3
1919 7
1920 7
Total 273


Detailed Records of Lynchings in Alabama*


*The total number of lynchings as reported by years from 1885 to 1900 does not agree with the number of lynchings reported in the detailed records for the same period. This discrepancy apparently arises from the fact that in the detailed records which are derived from the compilations in “Thirty Years of Lynchings in the United States, 1889-1918,” (published by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in some instances the same lynching apparently was counted twice and in other instances, cases were apparently classed as lynchings which should have come under some other designation.



13- Cicero Cage, colored charged with attempted rape.  Ralph.


17- James Macmillan, colored, charged with attempted rape.  Green Pond.

22- Frank Foukal, white, charged with murder.  Bay Minette.


1-    Argie Robinson, colored, charge not reported.  Whatley.


29- Miles Phifer, Robert Croskey, colored, charged with rape.  Montgomery.

30- John Temple, colored. Shot to death in hospital, had killed a policeman.  Montgomery.


The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, February 1921. Lynching in Alabama.