This Day in History: 1903-04-16

A mob of 2,000 angry white men storms the Joplin, Missouri jail, forcibly removes Thomas Gilyard, who had been arrested just an hour before for murder of a white police officer on no real evidence, and lynches him by hanging from a telephone and burning. The mob than proceeded to violently attack every Black person on sight in the city, then descended upon the Joplin’s Black districts, looting and burning houses, buildings, and businesses, and blockading the fire department from responding. These actions effectively drove every African American from Joplin, forcing most to flee with nothing but the clothes on their backs, foreclosed by threat of violence from ever recovering their losses. The lynching and terrorist racial cleansing made national newspapers, but were otherwise unexceptional for the era. Learn more.