On this dayApr 27, 1899
Mitchell Daniel Lynched in Georgia for “Talking Too Much” About Another Recent Lynching
On April 27, 1899, a Black man named Mitchell Daniel was lynched by a white mob in Lee County, Georgia, for “talking too much” about the brutal lynching of Sam Hose, another Black man, that had taken place days earlier.
Mr. Hose had been employed by a wealthy white man named Alfred Cranford in Newnan, Georgia. Mr. Cranford owed Mr. Hose money but refused to pay him, and as arguments escalated between the two men, Mr. Cranford bought a gun and threatened Mr. Hose. When Mr. Cranford was killed soon after, Mr. Hose was accused of killing the white man and assaulting his wife. Soon an angry mob formed and set off to catch and lynch Mr. Hose.
A $500 reward was posted for Mr. Hose’s capture, and hundreds of white residents launched what was described as the “largest manhunt in the state’s history.” Local newspapers published sensationalized accounts of the allegations against Mr. Hose, dehumanizing him and reinforcing dangerous racial stereotypes of Black men as predators.
Many Black people were lynched across the South under accusations of murder or assault. During this era of racial terror, mere suggestions of Black-on-white violence could provoke mob violence and lynching. Though these communities had developed and functioning judicial systems, white defendants were more likely to face trial while Black people regularly suffered death at the hands of a violent mob, without trial or any opportunity to present evidence of innocence or self defense.
On April 23, 1899, after Mr. Hose was turned into authorities, a white mob in Newnan seized him from the jail and staged a brutal public spectacle lynching before a crowd of thousands of white people. The mob chained Mr. Hose to a tree, dismembered and mutilated his body as he screamed in agony, then set him on fire while still alive. Afterward, residents fought over Mr. Hose’s remains, and some spectators reportedly claimed pieces of his bones and organs as “souvenirs” of the lynching. Black sociologist and activist W. E. B. Du Bois later disgustedly reported seeing Mr. Hose’s severed knuckles on display in an Atlanta store window one day after the lynching.
This horrific spectacle of murder went well beyond an attempt to punish any alleged crime; instead, Mr. Hose’s lynching was meant to terrorize all Black people living in the town of Newnan, in the state of Georgia, and throughout the U.S., where it soon became national news. Terroristic violence targeting the Black community was common during this period, when white mobs used widespread, unchecked racial violence to instill fear and discourage organized opposition to pervasive Jim Crow laws and other forms of racial oppression.
News of Mr. Hose’s brutal lynching spread quickly and far. A Black man named Mitchell Daniel heard the news within days, despite living 150 miles away from Newnan, and reacted with more outrage than fear. As a Black community leader, Mr. Daniel reportedly spoke out against the injustice of lynching and denounced Mr. Hose’s fate. This soon made him a target.
Just four days after Mr. Hose’s lynching, Mitchell Daniel’s dead body was discovered on the side of a Lee County, Georgia, road—riddled with bullets. Sparse local news reports attributed the lynching to Mr. Daniel’s white neighbors, but no one was ever held accountable for his death.
To learn more about how racial terror lynching claimed the lives of more than 6,500 Black women, men, and children in the U.S. between 1865-1950, explore EJI’s reports Lynching in America and Reconstruction in America.