10 Of The Worst Hate Crimes and Violence in Domestic American History
Racial hate crimes are an unfortunate part of American history and culture. Ever since the end of the Civil War, people of African descent have endured violence and suffering simply because of their ethnic identity. In this article, we’ll examine some of the most horrific hate crimes in American history, explaining what happened to both the victims and the perpetrators.
1. June 2015 Charleston Shooting
We begin with the shooting of nine people at a Charleston, South Carolina church on June 17, 2015. The alleged gunman, Dylann Roofer, murdered nine people in the historic African American church and injured six others. Among the dead was Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of the church and a state senator.
2. 2011 Murder of James Craig Anderson
In a horrific assault in June of 2011, a group of white men ganged up on James Craig Anderson in Jackson, Mississippi. Anderson died when one of the men, Deryl Dedmon, ran Anderson over with his truck. A total of ten people were found culpable in the crime.
3. 2005 Murder of William McCay
Steven Sandstrom and Gary Eye fatally shot William McCay in Kansas City, Missouri on March 9, 2005. Sandstrom and Eye were given multiple life sentences for their actions.
4. 1998 Dragging Death of James Byrd Jr.
In June of 1998, white supremacists Lawrence Russell Brewer, John King, and Shawn Berry dragged James Byrd Jr. behind a truck in Jasper, Texas. Brewer was executed in 2011 for the crime, while King is currently awaiting execution. Berry was sentenced to life in prison.
5. 1981 Lynching of Michael Donald
In what is regarded as the last lynching in American history, a group of Ku Klux Klan members hung Michael Donald in Mobile, Alabama. Henry Hays was executed for the murder in 1997. Two other men who participated in the lynching, James Knowles and Benjamin Franklin Cox Jr., were sentenced to life in prison.
6. 1968 Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
In the most infamous act of racial violence in the United States, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. Ray was offered a plea bargain and sentenced to 99 years in prison, dying in 1998.
7. 1964 Murders of Charles Moore and Henry Dee
In May of 1964, Charles Moore and Henry Dee were tortured and drowned by members of Ku Klux Klan in Franklin County, Mississippi. The crime went unpunished until 2007, when James Ford Seale was found guilty for his role in the double murder, being sentenced to several life terms in prison.
8. 1963 Baptist Church Bombing
In September of 1963, four members of the Ku Klux Klan used TNT to bomb a black church in Birmingham, Alabama. Four parishioners died in the attack and twenty-two were injured. Three of the four Klan members were sentenced to life in prison, while the fourth, Herman Cash, was never charged.
9. 1955 Murder of Emmett Till
In August of 1955, 14 year old Emmett Till was murdered when he allegedly flirted with a white woman. Roy Bryant and J.W. Milan were charged in the murder, but were later found not guilty.
10. 1916 Lynching of Jesse Washington
In one of the worst lynchings in American history, teenager Jesse Washington was tortured, burned, and lynched by a crowd of 10,000 spectators in Waco, Texas in May of 1916. Washington was found guilty in a kangaroo court of the murder of a white woman and was then quickly assaulted by the crowd, while police did nothing to come to his aid. No one was ever charged in Washington’s death.