Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ozarks Lynchings

A chapter in my Desperadoes of the Ozarks book deals with lynchings in the Ozarks. The last couple of decades of the 19th century and the first two or three decades of the 20th century have been called the "lynching era" in America because of the large number of extralegal executions that occurred during that time. In particular there were a lot of lynchings of blacks by white mobs.
The racial violence was not quite as prominent in the Ozarks as it was in the Deep South, primarily because there were fewer blacks to begin with. Also, the frontier Ozarks had a history, dating back to the region's settlement in the early 1800s, of resorting to vigilante mobs or "rough justice" in dealing with heinous crimes not only by blacks but by whites as well.
So, the chapter in my book doesn't deal specifically with black lynchings, although the area's three most noted racial lynchings (i.e. Pierce City in 1901, Joplin in 1903, and Springfield in 1906) do receive particular focus. The chapter is just an overview of the subject of lynchings in the Ozarks, both black and white. If you want to read an in-depth account of racially motivated lynchings in the Ozarks, I would recommend Kimberly Harper's White Man's Heaven.

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