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January 6, 1909, Young Afro-American, Arthur Davis, Lynched For Injuring Mule - Today In Crime History
On this day, January 6, in the year 1909, a young Afro-American, Arthur Davis, was lynched in Florence, South Carolina, for injuring a mule owned by a prominent white family.
Available records do not precisely indicated how old Davis was at the time of his lynching, but newspaper reports described him as a “negro boy”. Unfortunately for Davis, a white man, the son of an ex-state senator, accused the young man of cruelty to a mule. Davis denied the charge. The accuser proposed to Davis’s mother that if she would whip her son and promise that he would work for the accuser for one year without pay, he would forgive the incident. This proposal was refused. Davis would later be dragged from his bed by a mob, stripped naked, beaten, shot and murdered.
The brutal slaying of Arthur Davis for such a petty allegation outraged some locals and an investigation ensued. Ultimately, three white men, including the son of the ex-state senator, were indicted for the murder. At first the prosecutor appeared to have a strong case and community sentiment was supportive. Soon, however, signs were posted around the community by “night riders” threatening magistrates, jurors and witnesses with death.
At trial, witnesses provided inconsistent testimony about the events at the chaotic lynching scene. The jury deliberated approximately two hours before finding all three defendants not guilty. Angered by the outcome, the prosecutor spoke openly about the intimidation and perjury that had occurred. The prosecutor even claimed that he had been “shadowed” throughout the three day trial.
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