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Gainesville in Alachua County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Lynching in America / Lynching in Gainesville

Community Remembrance Project

 
 
Lynching in America Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, October 5, 2022
1. Lynching in America Marker
Inscription.  
Lynching in America
Between 1882 and 1930, Florida had one of the highest per capita lynching rates in the United States, with Alachua County ranked near the top. After the Civil War, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution ended slavery and extended constitutional rights to Black people. Many white communities responded with violence and lynching as tools for preserving racial hierarchy, and thousands of Black people were the victims of racial terror lynching in the United States. Racial terror lynching emerged as a brutal form of violent resistance to emancipation and equal rights for African Americans, intended to intimidate Black people and to maintain white economic, political, and social control. Black women, men, and children were lynched for resisting economic exploitation, violating perceived social customs, engaging in interracial relationships, or being accused of crimes even when there was not any evidence tying the accused to any offense. Racial terrorism in Alachua County was promoted by many white business leaders and politicians who sought to drive down wages, deny Black land ownership,
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and prevent Black people from voting. Newspapers often justified mob violence by promoting racist stereotypes and supporting extra-legal killings. Over 350 victims of racial terror lynching have been documented in the State of Florida between 1865 and 1950, with at least 12 people having been lynched in Gainesville.

Lynching in Gainesville
White mobs lynched at least four Black men in Gainesville between 1877 and 1950 in complete disregard for the legal system and their constitutional rights. On February 17, 1891, a white mob abducted Tony Champion from his jail cell and hanged him from a tree near NE 6th Street. Just six months later, on August 24, 1891, a white mob seized Andrew Ford from jail and lynched him from the same tree. Law enforcement often failed to protect Black people in their custody from mob violence, despite their legal obligation to do so. On November 26, 1896, a deputy sheriff was complicit in handing Alfred Daniels over to a white mob that hanged him and riddled his body with bullets. Facing little to no resistance, white perpetrators of racially motivated violence were emboldened to attack Black people with impunity. On March 21, 1942, white men fatally shot a Black farmer named Lester Watts in front of his wife in an attack near University Ave. After slavery ended, lethal violence against Black people intensified, and lynch
Lynching in Gainesville marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, October 5, 2022
2. Lynching in Gainesville marker
mob violence emerged as a tool of racial control. Even before the 12-year period of Reconstruction ended in 1877, and the federal government withdrew protection for Black people in the South, white mobs in Gainesville lynched at least eight Black people. As in the Reconstruction-era lynchings, no one was ultimately held accountable for lynching of Mr. Champion, Mr. Ford, Mr. Daniels, or Mr. Watts.
 
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 Rights. In addition, it is included in the Lynching in America series list. A significant historical date for this entry is February 17, 1891.
 
Location. 29° 39.69′ N, 82° 18.45′ W. Marker is in Gainesville, Florida, in Alachua County. Marker is on Northeast 14th Street, 0.1 miles north of Northeast 8th Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Marker located at the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1028 NE 14th St, Gainesville FL 32601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Thomas House (approx. 0.9 miles away); Roper Park / Old City Park (approx. one mile away); Matheson House (approx. one mile away); Chestnut Funeral Home
Lynching in Gainesville / Lynching in America Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, October 5, 2022
3. Lynching in Gainesville / Lynching in America Marker
(approx. 1.1 miles away); "The Great Endurance Run" (approx. 1.1 miles away); 9/11 Memorial (approx. 1.1 miles away); East Florida Seminary (approx. 1.1 miles away); City of Gainesville (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gainesville.
 
Also see . . .  Equal Justice Initiative. (Submitted on October 10, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 17, 2022. It was originally submitted on October 10, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 270 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 10, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.

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May. 26, 2024