Challenging “Alleged Causes”

  • Angela D. Sims
Part of the Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice book series (BRWT)


Ida B. Wells’s third text on terrorist tactics, Mob Rule in New Orleans, is a succinct analysis of legal complicity, silent conspiracy, and the economics of lynching. I draw upon the following timeline1 as a basis from which to suggest that it is highly probable that concerns about a police-precipitated incident that fueled extreme mob brutality, without intervention from elected officials, would not have been raised had New Orleans’s bond rating not been adversely impacted:
  • Monday, July 24,1900—at approximately 10:30 p.m. police instigated an unwarranted assault against two colored men sitting outside a residence on Dryades St.

  • Tuesday, July 25, 1900—manhunt located Charles, between 2:30 and 5:00 a.m., at 2023 4th Street; an unidentified innocent man subjected to mob rule; two officers killed.

  • Wednesday, July 26, 1900—manhunt continued as rampant lawlessness escalates.

  • Thursday, July 27, 1900—mob rule continued.

  • Friday, July 28, 1900—concern surfaces regarding financial impact of mob rule as rioting continued; house in which Charles hid set on fire by besiegers, forcing Charles to confront the mob who riddled his body with bullets.


Chicago Tribune Painful Reminder White Hatred French Quarter Vigilante Activity 
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  1. 2.
    Edward L. Ayers, Vengeance & Justice: Crime and Punishment in the 19th-century American South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), 243.Google Scholar

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© Angela D. Sims 2010

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  • Angela D. Sims

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