Feb. 8, 2021

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” Black History Month

In Sumterville, Florida, in 1902, after a black man named Henry Wilson was convicted of murder after a trial lasting just two hours and 40 minutes, the judge promised the mob of armed white men filling the courtroom that the ordered death sentence would be carried out by public hanging—though that violated state law. When the execution was set for a later date, the mob threatened vigilante action. In response, Florida officials quickly moved up the date, authorized Wilson to be hanged before a jeering mob, and congratulated themselves on the “avoided” lynching.