April 2nd, 1933

Reuben Micou Lynched in Winston County, Mississippi

On April 2, 1933, a mob of white men broke into the Winston County, Mississippi jail in Louisville, Mississippi to lynch a 65-year-old black man named Reuben Micou. Mr. Micou had been arrested after he was accused of getting into an altercation a prominent local white man.

Black people carried a heavy presumption of guilt during this era, and many hundreds of African Americans across the South were lynched based on false allegations, accusations of non-serious crimes, and even for non-criminal violations of social customs and racial expectations. Such “offenses” could be something as arguing with or insulting a white person or, as in this case, taking action to defend oneself when faced with the threat of violence from a white person.

Mr. Micou’s body was later found in a nearby churchyard, riddled with bullets. His corpse also showed signs that he had been whipped. Weeks later, seventeen white men were indicted and arrested for participating in the lynching. This was rare during the lynching era, when members of lynch mobs acted with impunity and rarely had to fear facing any consequences for their murderous actions.

Despite the initial signs of prosecution, the cases against the seventeen men were “indefinitely postponed” in July 1933, and press reports predicted that the charges would be dismissed soon after. No one was ever tried or convicted for Mr. Micou’s murder.

Reuben Micou was one of at least 11 black victims of racial terror lynching killed in Winston County, Mississippi between 1888 and 1933.