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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Gainesville in Alachua County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Lynching in America / Reconstruction-Era Lynchings in Gainesville

Community Remembrance Project

 
 
Lynching in America side of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, November 18, 2021
1. Lynching in America side of Marker
Inscription.  
Lynching in America
After the Civil War, constitutional rights were granted to Black people ensuring equal protection and voting. Many white leaders responded to the emancipation of Black people by violently seeking to maintain racial, economic, and social control over Black residents. By ceding political control back to Confederate veterans, federal officials allowed white southerners opposed to racial equality to re-establish white supremacy through intimidation and violence. Thousands of Black men, women, and children were lynched during Reconstruction, with dozens of large-scale massacres of Black communities between 1865 and 1876. This terror persisted after Reconstruction, largely with impunity. Lynchings of Black people included burnings and mutilation, sometimes in front of crowds numbering in the thousands. Lynch mobs would often seize their victims from jails, courtrooms, or from police, without fear of any legal repercussions. Many names of those whose lives were claimed by these acts of racially motivated violence were not recorded and will never be known, but at least 6,500 racial terror lynchings were
Reconstruction-Era Lynchings in Gainesville side of marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, November 18, 2021
2. Reconstruction-Era Lynchings in Gainesville side of marker
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documented in the United States between 1865 and 1950. Florida had one of the highest per capita lynching rates in the nation with at least 343 documented victims lynched and at least 12 Black people lynched in Gainesville. This marker honors the victims of this tragic racial terror violence in our community.

Reconstruction-Era Lynchings in Gainesville
The era of Reconstruction following the Civil War opened with great promise in Gainesville but soon gave way to racial terror, unparalleled violence, and racial oppression. White mobs lynched at least eight Black people during this period: Harry Franklin 1868; Mr. Stephens 1868; an Unnamed Person 1870; Christopher Cummings 1870; Henry Washington 1871; Alexander Morris 1871; Sandy Hacock 1871 and Eli in 1874. After Emancipation, Black people made up a majority of the population in Gainesville and opened businesses, churches, and organized political engagement. They advocated for public education, land ownership, and the right to vote. White people hoping to maintain the racial hierarchy that existed during enslavement attacked and lynched Black people for asserting their rights, leaving plantations, participating in politics, working toward economic independence, violating white social customs, being accused of crimes, or for sheer racial terror that was random and arbitrary. In 1874, a white
Reconstruction-Era Lynchings in Gainesville/Lynching in America Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, November 18, 2021
3. Reconstruction-Era Lynchings in Gainesville/Lynching in America Marker
mob set fire to the local jail to lynch a black man named Eli by burning him to death. This type of violence was accommodated by courts, law enforcement, and white officials who removed African Americans from juries, seized Black-owned land, and suppressed Black voting rights, while ignoring or even supporting white mobs who terrorized Black communities. Racial violence continued to terrorize the Black community for decades.
 
Erected 2021 by Alachua County Community Remembrance Project - Equal Justice Initiative.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsLaw Enforcement. In addition, it is included in the Lynching in America series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1865.
 
Location. 29° 39.089′ N, 82° 19.485′ W. Marker is in Gainesville, Florida, in Alachua County. Marker is on South Main Street (Florida Route 329) just south of East University Avenue (Florida Route 24/26), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10 S Main St, Gainesville FL 32601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Alachula County Courthouse (a few steps from this marker); Josiah T. Walls (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Spanish Cattle Ranching (about 500 feet away); First Gainesville Skirmish / Battle of Gainesville
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(about 600 feet away); City of Gainesville (about 600 feet away); East Florida Seminary (about 600 feet away); The Gainesville Servicemen's Center / Thelma Boltin Center (approx. ¼ mile away); "The Great Endurance Run" (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gainesville.
 
Also see . . .  Marker Dedication. (Submitted on November 22, 2021, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 22, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 21, 2021, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 101 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 21, 2021, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.

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Jan. 20, 2022