The Lynchings in Indiana

December 29, 1900


The Planet calls for “radical action” against the “evils” of “lynch-law.”


The lynching of Jim Henderson, Bud Rowlands, and John Rolla, the first two at Rockport, Indiana and the last at Booneville, Indiana, Dec. 16th and 17th, 1900 by a mob of irresponsible citizens was without a shadow of palliation or excuse.
These colored men were charged with the murder and robbery of Hollie Simmons, a white man. The punishment provided by the laws of Indiana was amply sufficient to meet the case, and being as they were in a hostile community, there was little if any likelihood in not receiving their just deserts.
Lynching is an evil which is now spreading over the entire country despite the efforts of white and colored men to check it. The remedy is said to exist in a healthy public sentiment against it. This is unquestionably true, but it is a slow way to reach the goal:
Lynchers are generally cowards.they go in crowds and steer clear of the defiant and well-armed culprit. In those cases they permit the officers of the law to capture the alleged criminal, hand-cuff and shackle him and while in this helpless condition they perform their cowardly and bloody work.
It seems to us then that a change should take. In all cases the alleged culprits should be armed and brave officers of the law permit the cowardly leaders of the mob opportunity to capture the “prey.”
When many lives had been lost in this undertaking the influences at home be exerted and lynching would disappear. In other words, white and colored men should sell their lives as dearly as possible when assailed by irresponsible mobs or even by sheriff’s posses who are but the advance guards of the lynchers themselves.
The lesson in Indiana should show to the people of the country the need of radical action.
In Canada, which borders on the United States and is under English rule, a lynching is unknown. This is because law is not the creature of public sentiment. For our past, we believe that the remedy is in our own hands, and we pray God that we may yet have nerve enough to use it.
Lynch-law must go!
About this article

Location on Page

Lower Left Quadrant


Contributed By

Elizabeth Lopez-Lopez


“The Lynchings in Indiana ,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed December 9, 2022,