"Vicksburg, Mississippi, Disgraces Civilization With Lynching", The Chicago Defender, Chicago, Illinois, May 24, 1919

transcription/facsimile newspaper article



Feed Lloyd Clay to

Leaping Flames


"Unusual Verdict, "Parties Unknown"

Vicksburg, Miss, May 23 - What the best white citizens here termed the most glorious celebrations held in the city for many years occurred Wednesday, May 14th, when innocent Lloyd Clay, age 23, was lynched and burned on the public highways by men, women and school children. Over 1,000 persons' voices rent the air with yells similar to that of cannibals when Clay was dragged down Farmer street to the "gallows tree." Clay made no outcry as his body bumped over rocks in the street and as knives and pistol shots perforated his naked form. He had been accused of entering the room of Miss Hattie Hudson, a white woman. Sheriff Scott stood idly by and puffed vigorously on a cigar as the bloodthirsty throng massacred their helpless victim. His mother requested that the charred body be given to her, but there was nothing left of it after the fire had parched it to a crisp and souvenirs were distributed to children, who yelled incessantly, "Mother, get me a piece of the nigger's finger."

Clay "identified"

When Clay was brought before Miss Hudson, she was unable to identify him and said she did not want the innocent blood upon her hands. "Innocent blood, hell" yelled a voice in the crowd: "say, yes, he's the nigger," came from hundreds of throats. Fearing bodily harm might be done her should she fail to accede to the demands of the mad mob, with a response hardly audible she said, "I think he is the man." This answer was sufficient. Clay was immediately felled by a blow from the handle of a double shotgun. The mob fell upon Clay, snatched away his clothes and dragged him toward North First street. Three men climbed an elm tree directly in front of the residence of Mrs. Ida M. Keefe (white) and when a stout rope came into view the mob went wild.

Children Take Part

During this period little children were smearing kerosene upon the naked form of Clay. His head was pinned beneath a man's heel and a woman, taking advantage of the opportunity, saturated his hair with gasoline. A match was applied and Clay was lifted into the air. This increased the excitement. Clay lifted his arms, placed his palms together in an attitude of prayer, but made no sound. Shouts, howls and the screech of motor horns made a deafening noise as Clay was strung beneath the elm tree. The dainty hands of young girls, who will represent the future mothers of Vicksburg, Miss., were seen with guns pointed at the victim, eager for a chance to be a party in furthering this gruesome method of cannibalism.

Onlooker Shot

A bullet said to have come from a revolver in the hands of a woman crashed into the brain of Charles Lanbookes (white), an onlooker, as he stood on the lawn of Mrs. Ida Keefe watching the charred body of Clay dangle from the tree. He will die. Benny Stafford (white), said to be a member of the mob, was wounded in the chin by a stray bullet. He will recover.

The body of Clay blistered and distorted, was permitted to hang.......................