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Lest we forget' our history (William Brown lynched 1919)

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-15-09 06:28 AM
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Published Wednesday July 15, 2009
Lest we forget' our history

By Elliot Njus

For the better part of a century, the man at the center of a 1919 riot in Omaha has lain in an unmarked grave.

William Brown was a 40-year-old black meatpacker. On Sept. 26, 1919, he was arrested on charges of raping a white woman. Two days later, he was beaten, hanged, shot and burned by a lynch mob angered over a crime for which he was never convicted.

He lay in an unmarked grave in Potter's Field, the Douglas County cemetery for the poor and unknown, for nearly 90 years until an unlikely donor stepped in.

Last month, workers laid a headstone donated by Chris Hebert of Riverside, Calif.

Hebert, an engineer for an electronics company, has no Omaha ties and has never visited the city. He had never heard of Brown or the Omaha riot.

I just happen to watch a lot of TV, he said.

He was watching a special on actor Henry Fonda, a Nebraska native. The show mentioned a riot in Omaha while Fonda was growing up.

Hebert searched online for more information. What he found was appalling.

FULL story and photo at link.

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Smarmie Doofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-15-09 07:57 AM
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1. K and R. This happened in 1919 in Nebraska where it SNOWS.
Edited on Wed Jul-15-09 08:02 AM by Smarmie Doofus
A myth persists that this sort of thing took place in places like Mississipi, back in post-reconstruction days.

In fact, we are not so far removed.

I like the fact that Mr. Herbert stumbled across this by watching a documentary about Henry Fonda.
Of the much under-appreciated Fondas.

Edit: sorry ... it won't "recommend".
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