November 8th, 1889

Leesburg, Virginia: Young Black Man Lynched for Frightening White Girl

On November 8, 1889, 18-year-old Orion “Owen” Anderson was taken from jail in Leesburg, Virginia, and lynched by an angry mob. Anderson, a young black man, was jailed under accusation of attempted assault and rape. He was alleged to have worn a sack on his head and frightened a white girl, Mary Leith, who was the daughter of a Loudon County community leader, on her walk to school. There were no witnesses to the incident and the girl could not identify the assailant. Anderson was charged with the “crime” because a sack was found near him, and he allegedly confessed after his arrest.

After midnight, a group of 40 men on horseback, almost all of whom were wearing masks and rags on their faces, rode into town. After taking the night watchman prisoner, three of the men gained entry to the jail by pretending that they had a prisoner who needed to be admitted. Once inside, they took Owen Anderson from his cell, carried him to the freight depot of the Richmond & Danville Railroad, hung him, and shot his body full of bullets. The members of the mob were seen riding through town on horseback afterward, but no one tried to apprehend them or claimed to recognize them. Owen Anderson was buried in the town’s pauper’s cemetery.

Leesburg’s newspaper, the Mirror, reported the assault and lynching on November 14, calling it “a terrible warning,” and stating that, “The fate of the self-confessed author of the outrage should serve as a terrible admonition to the violators of the law for the protection of female virtue.” Of the lynch mob, the Mirror reported that, “A band of resolute men, determined that however much their action might be deplored by those preferring that the law should take its course, they would themselves become the avengers.”


November 8th, 2008

Teens Beat and Kill Ecuadorean Immigrant in Long Island, New York, Hate Crime

Shortly before midnight on November 8, 2008, Marcelo Lucero, a 37-year-old Ecuadorean immigrant, was attacked and killed by a group of seven teenagers (six white, one Puerto Rican and black) in Long Island, New York. The teens had gone out that night for “beaner-hopping,” which one of the teens described as, “you go out and you look for a Hispanic to beat up.” The seven teens taunted Mr. Lucero and a friend, stating: “Hey, fucking Mexican, fucking illegals. You come to this country to take our money,” beat them both, then stabbed Mr. Lucero.

Mr. Lucero had lived in the United States since 1993, and worked at a dry cleaning shop in Patchogue. His murder occurred amid anti-immigrant vitriol from local politicians; the year before Mr. Lucero was killed, local legislator Elie Mystal stated that if he saw immigrant day laborers gathering in the streets of his neighborhood, “I would load my gun and start shooting, period.” Another local official said that if he saw an influx of Latino day laborers in his town, “we'll be out with baseball bats.” The local police department had also been investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for failing to properly investigate previous attacks on Latinos; local immigrants complained the police were generally more interested in their immigration status than that they had been victimized. In 2013, the Justice Department reached a comprehensive agreement with the local police department to implement needed reforms.

Jeffrey Conroy, the white teen who stabbed and killed Mr. Lucero, was acquitted of murder, but convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime and sentenced to 25 years in prison. The other members of the group received sentences between 5 and 8 years imprisonment.