On this dayAug 24, 1923

Black Man Lynched in Jacksonville, Florida

On August 24, 1923, a 34-year-old black farmhand named Ben Hart was lynched near Jacksonville, Florida, after being accused of "peeping" into a young white girl’s bedroom window.

According to witnesses, approximately ten unmasked men came to Hart’s home around 9:30 p.m. claiming to be deputy sheriffs. When the men told Hart the allegation against him, he professed his innocence and readily agreed to go to the county jail with the men to prove he had done nothing wrong. Mr. Hart did not live to complete the journey.

Shortly after midnight the next day, Ben Hart’s handcuffed and bullet-riddled body was found in a ditch about three miles from the city. He had been shot six times, and witnesses later reported seeing him earlier that night -- fleeing on foot while several white men shot at him with firearms, and several vehicles full of more white men followed behind.

Police investigating Ben Hart’s murder soon determined he was at his home twelve miles away when the alleged peeping incident occurred.

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