A Horrible Crime

February 26, 1898


A black postmaster in South Carolina dies alongside his wife and baby while a white mob maims his daughters in an attack.


A mob of white men gathered at Lake City Williamsburg Co S. C. at 5 o’clock on the morning of Washington’s Birthday, February 22nd, and after setting fire to the residence of Mr. Baker the colored postmaster, shot him to death, killed his wife and babe and maimed for life his three daughters.

Mr. Baker was appointed postmaster about three months ago, and it was on this account alone that they took his life.

A more dastardly murder has never been perpetrated in this country. It is a disgrace to civilization and a shame upon the government permitting it.

They not only killed poor Baker, but butchered the babe in its mother’s arms. Savages could do no more. No where upon the civilized c=globe has there been chronicled a more horrible crime.

Had it been committed by Negroes upon a white family, every Negro in the United States would have been regarded with suspicion. It is time to call a halt, and to enforce it.

It is time for a free people to consider. For our part, filled as we are at the present time with indignation, we believe that protection to the Negro will only come when he protects himself.

What is the matter with the colored people of Lake City and of South Carolina? When they make up their minds to protect each other regardless of the cost then they will not be called upon so to do.

Every self-respecting worthy colored man should own a revolver, shot-gun, or a repeating rifle. Every lawless man, white or colored, should be taught that he intends to use it.

We are weary of these reports of blood-shed with the blood-letting all on one side. We are tired of the slothful action of the officials of a government which cannot protect its own officials.

Thousands of dollars have been appropriated for the Maine’s sufferers, what will be offered for the maimed daughters of Postmaster Baker.

I. H. Loftin of Hogansville, Ga., was similarly treated. What steps are being taken for his relief? Tell us no more about the war with Spain, discourse no longer upon the beauties of the “Pearl of the Antilles” (Cuba), sing no more of the song of the annexation of the “garden sport of the Pacific, (Hawaii). We can defend none of these, if we cannot protect our own citizens within forty0eight hours’ ride of the national capital.

Yes, we are in favor of fire-arms for the better element, the self-respecting, hard-working colored men of the South.

We are in favor of his firing upon all intruders and law-breakers who would despoil his home, and we earnestly beseech our leading men to preach the dawn of the new day, and bring about a realization of our fondest hopes.

When lawless white men learn that the attempt to murder law-abiding Negroes, will be followed by the death of the lawless white ones, then and not until then will this work of the extermination of a race cease.

Colored men, buy shot-guns, purchase rifles. Use them with discretion, fire them with wisdom; but let every charge find a resting place in the bosom of some would-be murderer who regards neither God nor Mammon, and are anxious to see human blood and to sacrifice innocent victims. Lynch-law must go!
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Contributed By

Cali Hughes


“A Horrible Crime,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed December 9, 2022, https://blackvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/237.