WACO, Texas (KWTX) On Saturday, students, faculty and staff at Baylor University held a march to shed light on the 1916 lynching of Jesse Washington, a black teenager accused of raping and murdering the wife of a Robinson man, who was dragged from the county courthouse, beaten, stoned, castrated, hanged and burned in front of City Hall.
"We've not forgotten this this is part of our history and we believe that there can be something new that the community can heal from this this history the violence that's in our past as well as in our present," Baylor student Laura Lysen said.
By some accounts as many as 15,000 residents watched as Washington was lynched, which was about half of Waco’s population at that time.
The size of the crowd and the failure of most of the city’s political, civic, religious and academic leaders to respond in the aftermath made the lynching a symbol of mob violence.
The Baylor group along with others from across the state said Saturday’s march was for the community. which has lacked an opportunity to acknowledge what happened and deal with it in a positive way.
"You know never to forget history no matter if it's good or bad I know a lot of people want to try to forget it because it does have a negative connotation with the city of Waco,” said Jaron Lopes, a Dallas County resident
May 15 will be the 100th anniversary of the lynching, which happened eight days after Washington was arrested and charged in the bludgeoning death of Lucy Fryer, 53.
Washington was transferred to the Dallas County Jail after he confessed to raping and murdering the woman, but was returned to Waco for a one-day trial in which a jury of twelve white men deliberated for just minutes before returning a guilty verdict.
As officers moved to remove Washington from the courtroom, a group of white spectators seized the teenager and rushed him down stairs to the alley behind the courthouse where several hundred more people were waiting to drag him toward City Hall.
A book published in 2005, “The First Waco Horror,” focused the national media spotlight on Washington’s lynching.