July 22nd, 1899

White Mob Lynches Black Teen Hours Before Trial in Fayette, Missouri

On the morning of July 22, 1899, Frank Embree was abducted from the train transporting him to stand trial and lynched in front of a crowd of over 1,000 onlookers. Mr. Embree had been arrested roughly one month earlier for allegedly assaulting a younger white girl. Though Mr. Embree had been scheduled to stand trial that day, the town’s residents grew impatient and decided to take “justice” into their own hands. Newspaper accounts report that a mob besieged the jail, loaded Mr. Embree into a wagon, and drove him over ten miles to the site of his alleged crime.

Once there, Mr. Embree’s captors stripped him naked and began whipping him in front of the assembled crowd in an attempt to extract a confession. After over one hundred lashes, Mr. Embree began screaming and told the men that he would confess, so long as they promised to stop torturing and execute him by hanging or shooting, rather than burning. Mr. Embree, his body covered in blood from the whipping, offered a confession and was immediately hanged from a tree. Upon hearing the news, the judge set to preside over Mr. Embree’s trial dismissed the veniremen and adjourned the court. Though photographs of Mr. Embree’s lynching depict the faces of his assailants; no one was ever arrested or tried for his murder.