The Charlottesville(Va.) Progress a liberal Democratic journal, under the caption of "Two Negro Leaders," says: We have in
mind a colored editor who has said some very incendiary things against the white race because Negro fiends who have violated
chaste women had been lynched as they deserved to be. Such lynching he has styled murder and has opened the vials of his
prejudice upon the whole Caucasian race.
Transcript of Article
The Crime and Punishment
We cannot believe that the editor of this journal wrote the above lines. He must have been indisposed, and a member of the
business department penned the article under discussion. Lynching is murder, whether the charge alleged against the victim
is rape or taking human life.
Guilt can only be legally established by complying with the forms of law and the meanest criminal, the most inhuman brute
is guaranteed a fair and impartial trial.
Centuries of civilization have demonstrated the wisdom of this mode of procedure, and to depart from it is to undermine the
fundamental principles of government itself, set a premium upon lawlessness and put in operation a condition of anarchy from
the blighting effect of which all intelligent minds will shrink.
The only safe course if a respect for the law.
Our protest then is against the assassination of civilization, rather than the death of a guilty victim.
Our contemporary misrepresents us knowingly when it says we have condemned the whole Caucasian race. We have condemned the
lawless portion of it. There are two classes of white people, the liberal and the illiberal, the law-abiding and the lawless.
The black race is susceptible to like designations. The Progress says, "He forgets the crime for which violent death was
visited upon the perpetrator or, if he remembers it, he does not realize its enormity and has little to say in condemnation.
Rape should be punished with death. The law decrees it, and we so agree. We insist that the law be left free to mete punishment
and that the necessary safeguards be thrown around the accused to the end that the execution of an innocent man and the escape
of the guilty brute may not be within the realms of a reasonable possibility.
In our issue Nov. 25th, we said:
A man guilty of rape, be he white or black, should be hanged dead by his neck. We all agree upon that point.
What is needed most is that the better element of both races should combine and legally rid the earth of this kind of material.
Does the above read as though we condoned the crime? The Progress says:
We have condemned lynching, not because we thought the victim was wronged, but because by it discredit is brought upon the
law and the State. The ravisher deserves no consideration-and the sooner he is out of the world the better.
The above is in keeping with the views previously expressed by us.
Colored men will condemn members of their race guilty of this heinous crime as readily as white men would. We insist however
that the white ravisher should be as summarily punished by the law as the colored one, and whether the victim of the licentiousness
of either be white or black. This is the only way to secure equal and exact justice. The Progress says:
Why bewail the violent death of a scoundrel who has committed the worst crime in the calendar? Why not desire it? Why make
martyrs of these wretches? There is reason for denouncing lynching, but that reason is not that through lynching a miserable
violater of women has been put out of the way and can never again commit his loathsome crime. The objection to lynching must
be based on the fact that it is lawless.
The maddened wretches who lynch alleged criminals by processes which civilization has decreed to be barbarous cause the person
lynched to be regarded as a martyr.
When you sear the flesh of a human being with hot irons, burn out the vital parts, and reduce to cinder the eyes and tongue
of the dying victim, humanity revolts and demands a halt.
The crime of the sufferer is lost sight of by the heinousness of the punishment.
Each lyncher demonstrates conclusively his liability to commit the same or some other crime equally as brutal as the one with
which their victim stood charged.
Our contemporary loses sight of the fact that the assassination of female virtue is not the only crime for which a person
Charles W. Miller, John Scott, and Robert Burton, who were lynched at Clifton Forge, Va., Oct. 17, 1891, were not charged
with rape. They shot two white men who were pursuing them.
Jerry Brown, Sam McDowell, John Johnson, Spencer Brown and Sam Blow, who were lynched at Richlands, Va., Feb. 1 to 3, 1893,
were not charged with rape. They were said to have murdered two white men who at the time were badly injured are alive and
Will Lavender, lynched at Roanoke, Va., Feb. 12, 1892, although charged with rape, was afterwards found to be innocent of
Thomas Smith, who was lynched at Roanoke, Va., Sept. 20, 1893, and his body burned to ashes was not charged with rape. It
was alleged that he struck and robbed a white woman.
We cite only cases that have occurred in our own State and are familiar to every reader.
We counsel our people to be law-abiding, God-fearing, polite and obliging. We discountenance lawlessness in any form and
by so doing condemn the crime as well as the criminal.
We insist that one atrocity does not justify the perpetration of another and that Virginians, American citizens cannot afford
to lower themselves to the level of the brutes in order to mete deserved punishment.
Christianity and the law must be our guides, humanity and civilization the paths along which we must wend our way. Lynch
law must go!
Summary of Article
This is an article in response to a claim by the Charlottesville Progress that the black editor of the Richmond Planet has
discarded the entire white race, on the premise that lynching is murder. The article employs numerous examples to illustrate
the reasons for which the black race is strongly opposed to lynch law. In addition, the author of the article emphasizes
that opposing lynch law is not indicative of support of criminality. Instead, the author opposes lynch law because it encourages
lawlessness and deforms justice.