Sam Hose went to jail for killing a white man and attacking his wife in front of her children in 1899 when a white mob took him from his sell to a new location to torture him to death. This mob mutilated Hose’s body while he was tied up, eventually burning him alive while over 2,000 people watched, according to the Atlanta Constitution. Much of this crowd came a long way to see Hose murdered and tortured after hearing that he had attacked a white family. At this point in Georgia, lynching was at an all time high, with its toll at 458 lynchings and only beat by Mississippi’s toll of 538. In 1899, Georgia hit its peak, with 27 lynchings in a year.
After Reconstruction ended in Georgia, reports of violence became widespread throughout the state. Georgia ranked second to Mississippi with 458 lynch victims between the end of Reconstruction and the early twentieth century. The number of lynch victims peaked in 1899 when 27 Georgians were killed. Among the more high-profile lynch victims of Georgia was Leo Frank (August 17, 1915), a Jewish man of Atlanta who was convicted of murdering his 15-year-old employee (Mary Phagan). Leo Frank was raised in New York and came to Georgia in the early twentieth century to manage the National Pencil Company. Frank was convicted largely on the testimony of Jim Conley, an African-American janitor working at the factory. After a series of failed appeals, including one to the U.S. Supreme Court, Frank’s lawyers appealed to Governor John. M. Slaton. After reviewing the case, Slaton commuted Frank’s sentence to life in prison. Feelings of outrage and anger, likely flared by populist newspaper editor Tom Watson’s writings, came to a head on August 17, 1915, when Leo Frank was hanged by a mob in Marietta, Georgia. For more information go to the New Georgia Encyclopedia page on Leo Frank and his case.
A collection of newspapers articles on the Leo Frank Case. From the Georgia Historical Society.
“Lynch Law in Georgia” was published by the Colored Citizens of Chicago in 1882. Ida B. Wells was part of the Great Migration movement, in which African-Americans moved North in large numbers, looking for equality and opportunity outside of the South. Yet Wells did not cut ties with the South and continued to work toward justice for black Southerners even after she left.
“Lynch law in Georgia: a six-weeks’ record in the center of southern civilization, as faithfully chronicled by the “Atlanta journal” and the “Atlanta constitution”: also the full report of Louis P. Le Vin, the Chicago detective sent to investigate the burning of Samuel Hose, the torture and hanging of Elijah Strickland, the colored preacher, and the lynching of nine men for alleged arson” By Ida B. Wells. [Chicago: This pamphlet is circulated by Chicago colored citizens, 1899]. From the Library of Congress.