On this dayJan 12, 1896

White Mob Murders Interracial Couple in Louisiana

Image | "Two Lives Taken in Defiance of Law," New Orleans Times-Picayune, 13 Jan. 1896

On the night of January 12, 1896, a mob of twenty men set fire to the home of Patrick and Charlotte “Lottie” Morris in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Mr. Morris, a white railroad hand, and his wife, a black woman, had garnered the ill will of the community “on account of their difference in color” as well as their operation of a gathering place and hotel for black people.

The mob first attempted to burn down the Morrises’ home at 11:00 that night, but Mr. Morris discovered the fire and extinguished it. By midnight, the mob had set a second fire that could not be controlled. When the couple attempted to escape the flames through the front door of their home, the mob attacked them with a barrage of gunfire. Mrs. Morris was shot and killed at the doorstep while Mr. Morris was maimed by a shot to his leg.

The Morrises’ twelve-year-old son, Patrick Morris Jr., witnessed the events and escaped through the back door of the home. As the boy ran for safety, the mob shot into the darkness after him but missed. Patrick spent the night hiding underneath a nearby home in the neighborhood.

The next morning, community members found that much of the Morrises’ home had been destroyed by the fire. Mr. and Mrs. Morris’s charred remains were found inside the home, and a coroner’s examination revealed that one of the bodies had been decapitated; it was unclear whether this act was carried out before or after death.

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