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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Springfield in Greene County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Lynching in America / The Lynchings of Horace B. Duncan, Fred Coker and William Allen

Community Remembrance Project

 
 
Lynching in America / The Lynchings of Horace B. Duncan, Fred Coker and William Allen Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, April 5, 2021
1. Lynching in America / The Lynchings of Horace B. Duncan, Fred Coker and William Allen Marker
Inscription.  

Lynching in America
Thousands of black people were the victims of lynching in the United States between 1877 and 1950. The lynching of African Americans during this era was a form of racial terrorism intended to intimidate black people and enforce racial hierarchy and segregation. After the Civil War, violent resistance to equal rights for African Americans led to fatal violence against black women, men, and children accused of violating social customs, engaging in interracial relationships, or committing crimes. Community leaders who spoke against this violence were themselves often targeted by mobs. Racial lynching became the most public and notorious form of subordination directed at black people and was frequently tolerated or even supported by law enforcement and elected officials. White mobs were usually permitted to engage in brutal violence with impunity. Many black people were pulled out of jails or given to mobs by law enforcement officials who were legally required to protect them. Lynchings often included burnings and mutilation, sometimes in front of crowds numbering in the thousands. Many of the victims of these
Lynching in America / The Lynchings of Horace B. Duncan, Fred Coker and William Allen Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, April 5, 2021
2. Lynching in America / The Lynchings of Horace B. Duncan, Fred Coker and William Allen Marker
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acts of violence were not recorded by name and remain unknown, but over 50 lynchings have been documented in Missouri alone, with at least three having taken place in Greene County.

The Lynchings of Horace B. Duncan, Fred Coker and William Allen
On Good Friday, April 13, 1906, Springfield and Greene County had a thriving population of African American professionals, business owners, and community leaders. By the early hours of Easter Sunday, the city had been overwhelmed by hate and violence because of a false allegation that two black men, Horace B. Duncan and Fred Coker, had assaulted a white woman. A lynch mob was formed, and the two men were taken to the city jail for their protection. A third young black man, William Allen, was already in the jail. The mob broke into the jail and took Mr. Duncan and Mr. Coker to the city square, where they were hanged from the Gottfried Tower - an iron structure topped with a replica of the Statue of Liberty. Not satisfied with lynching the two men, the mob returned to the jail and brought Mr. Allen to be lynched. By Easter Sunday morning, all that remained was a pile of ashes and the men's burned bodies. A crowd of thousands watched both public spectacle lynchings. Fearing further violence, many African Americans left the city, some never to return. After the lynching, a grand jury met and indicted eighteen men who
Lynching in America / The Lynchings of Horace B. Duncan, Fred Coker and William Allen Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, April 5, 2021
3. Lynching in America / The Lynchings of Horace B. Duncan, Fred Coker and William Allen Marker
Marker is near the southeast corner of Park Central Square
were involved in the incident. One man was brought to trial, but no one was ever convicted of these murders.
 
Erected 2019 by Equal Justice Initiative and African American Heritage Trail.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Lynching in America series list. A significant historical date for this entry is April 13, 1906.
 
Location. 37° 12.52′ N, 93° 17.513′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Missouri, in Greene County. Marker is on Park Central Square east of South Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 110 Park Central Square, Springfield MO 65806, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Battle of Springfield (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Springfield (a few steps from this marker); Three Black Men Lynched (within shouting distance of this marker); History of Springfield Public Square (within shouting distance of this marker); 1971 Tumbler (within shouting distance of this marker); Wild Bill's Shootout (within shouting distance of this marker); Dedicated to the Loving Memory of Dr. R. Fred Schweitzer (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Butterfield Overland Stage (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 21, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 66 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 21, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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Jun. 18, 2021