The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 518
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
On the other hand, a vocal minority of Americans, by publicly de-
nouncing the trend toward mob violence in the country, refused to sup-
port a conspiracy of silence with respect to lynching. Bishop Charles B.
Galloway of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, proclaimed that
"Every Christian patriot in America needs to lift up his voice in loud
and eternal protest against the mob-spirit that is threatening the integ-
rity of this Republic." Similarly, the NAACP from its inception con-
sidered lynching (which the Crisis identified as "the standard American
industry") one of the most important problems in the country, and the
eradication of lynching one of the most important planks in its pro-
gram for racial advancement. Of particular concern to individuals and
organizations determined to halt episodes of mob-inflicted violence was
the fact that, while the frequency of lynchings began to decline after
19o0, those incidents that did occur were often characterized by ex-
treme barbarity. Few examples of lynch law in twentieth-century
America demonstrate this more graphically than the mutilation and
burning of Jesse Washington at the hands of a white mob in Waco,
Texas, on May 15, 1916-an episode dubbed the "Waco Horror."3
Located on the banks of the Brazos River in the fertile blackland
region of Central Texas, Waco was a thriving community in 1916.
Local boosters described the Lone Star State's eighth largest urban area
(estimated population 33,67o)4 as "The Wonder City" and emphasized
York, 1918), 70-71 (first quotation); "Some Thoughts on Lynching," South Atlantic Quar-
terly, V (Oct., 1906), 353 (second quotation); J. H. T. to the Editor, Crisis, VII (Nov.,
1913), 348 (third quotation).
a"Some Thoughts on Lynching," 353 (first quotation); James Weldon Johnson, Along
This Way: The Autobiography of James Weldon Johnson (New York, 1933), 31o; Crisis,
IX (Mar., 1915), 196 (second quotation); Walter White, Rope and Faggot: A Biography of
Judge Lynch (1929; reprint ed., New York, 1969), 19-2o. The specific title "Waco horror"
seems to have originated with the editors of the Crisis, who published an account of this
incident as an eight-page supplement to their July issue. Prior to the appearance of this
report, however, the Houston Chronzcle expressed its editorial opinion of "The Horror at
Waco," and a New York Times editorial stated that the mob in Waco had "Punished a
Horror Horribly." See "The Waco Horror," Supplement to the Crisis, XII (July, 1916), 1-8;
Houston Chronicle, May 16, 1916; and New York Times, May 17, 1916. Previous discus-
sions of this affair include brief accounts in Charles F. Kellogg, NAACP: A History of the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1909-1920 (Baltimore, 1967),
218, and Robert L. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 19go-195o (Phila-
delphia, 1980), 29-30, and a more thorough exploration in Rogers M. Smith, "The Waco
Lynching of 1916: Perspective and Analysis" (M.A. thesis, Baylor University, 1971).
4United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Fourteenth Census of
the United States Taken in the Year 192o (11 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1921-23), III, Popu-
lation, 1920, Composition and Characteristics, 1,o5. The Census Bureau set Waco's popu-
lation in 191o at 26,425; ten years later the figure stood at 38,5oo. The town's population
in 1916 can be estimated by computing the percent of increase between 1910 and 1920 and
assuming that the increase occurred evenly over the decade. Although no certain degree of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/578/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.