Posted on 06/13/2009

Photo taken on February 1, 1893

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Burned at the stake
Never given a trial and never had his name cleared
Souvenir seekers carried away bits of his charred body and c
He 'confessed' after being beaten by the police
Found guilty without a trial and dealt with by the Southern
African American Migrant Worker
Henry Smith
Myrtle Vance
Paris Texas
Mob Justice

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Southern Justice System

Southern Justice System
This image shows a photograph of Henry Smith at the Paris, Texas, train station after his forcible return from Arkansas. Smith's gruesome murder exemplifies the near-ritualistic nature of a typical lynching, the drama unfolding over several carefully orchestrated acts. Pictured here is one stage in the public spectacle: the delivery of the criminal to justice while he is kept safely under control. Two white men in respectable dress stand on either side of Smith, clutching his arms. Smith alone looks directly into the camera, with apparent resignation to his fate.

African American Vernacular Photography: Selections from the Daniel Cowin Collection