Cruel Murder

June 6, 1896


White mobs ignore the judicial system to lynch black criminals, giving them brutal and inhumane deaths by mob.


Columbus, Ga., June 1.
Two colored men were hung to a tree in the middle of Broad street, the main business thoroughfare of this city, and riddled with bullets by an infuriated mob at 10 o'clock this morning. They were Jesse Slayton and Will Miles. Slayton feloniously assaulted Mrs. Howard Bryan, a respectable white lady of this (Muscogee) county. He was captured that day by officers in the city and placed in jail before the crowd looking for him found him.
This morning he was carried to the Superior-Court room for trial. He had been indicted and a jury was being impaneled when a mob rushed up the steps into the court room, yelling and brandishing rifles and pistols, seized the terrified man, threw a rope around his neck, and dragged him a hundred yards down Broad street, riddling his body with bullets at every step. The body was then swung up to a tree and left dangling there
The crowd then went to the jail after Will Miles, another colored man, who, in the night-time about two years ago, attempted an assault upon Mrs. Albright, a lady of this city. The jailer pleaded with the mob, but to no avail, and was compelled to surrender Miles to save his life and the jail from destruction. He surrendered the keys, and the doomed man was led to where the body of Clayton dangled.
Miles was quickly swung up and his body riddled with a hundred bullets. Miles had been tried and convicted twice, and his case had been twice sent back by the Supreme Court on technicalities for a new trial. His next trial resulted in a mistrial, and he was in jail awaiting his fourth trial. The law's delay in this instance had much to do with causing to-day's mad mob to over-ride the law and the court itself.
About this article

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Upper Left Quadrant


Contributed By

Liam Eynan


“Cruel Murder,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed June 20, 2019,