Arthur C. Williams, Gadsden County, 1941
The first in the series of lynchings examined in this text is that of Quincy resident Arthur C. Williams, a twenty-two-year-old black man. Williams was accused of robbery and the attempted rape of a twelve-year-old white girl in May of 1941, the details of which make the truth of the accusation highly improbable. After being arrested, would-be lynchers twice kidnapped Williams from the Quincy jail and attempted to kill him, only succeeding the second time. Two diverging courses of activity followed the aftermath of Arthur Williams's lynching. On the local level, the results of both a coroner's inquest and an investigation of the state attorney failed to identify any responsible party. However, Quincy was skewered in the national media by nationally syndicated columnist Westbrook Pegler. His comments, along with the angry reaction they inspired from white Floridians, demonstrated the increasing difficulty that perpetrators of racial violence would have in concealing their actions from national scrutiny, and given Adolf Hitler's rise to power, and connections to international battle between fascism and freedom.
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