Saturday, June 16, 2012

This Week in Texas Methodist History June 17

Tyler District Conference Passes Resolutions Condemning Lynching June 17-21, 1902

Last week’s post highlighted the modernization of Texas towns and cities in the period 1880-1910.  Unfortunately all Texans did not participate fully in the progressive measures that helped turn Texas into a modern state.  The period in question also witnessed an upsurge in lynching.  African American Texans were subjected to a reign of terror in which baseless accusations might lead to most hideous deaths. 

The Tyler District Conference of the MECS met in Malakoff, Texas, from June 17-21, 1902.   The Committee on Resolutions brought forward an anti-lynching resolution and directed the Conference Secretary, the Rev. H. B. Urquart of Murchison to send copies of the resolution to Texas newspapers.  Here is the resolution as printed.

We, the committee on resolutions, offer this for your consideration:

We note with alarm the growing disposition on the part of some of our people in taking the law in their own hands in dealing with a certain class of criminals whose crime should be nameless. .We deeply deplore this tendency.

Our law is adequate and should always be allowed to take its course.  Mob law is irresponsible and knows no limit.

Let the good people sanction it, either by indorsing it or by just letting it go unrebuked, and it soon comes to the conclusion that not only for this nameless crime, but for any crime the mob chooses to punish in this summary way, it is justified in convening its bloody court, and without judge, jury, or trial, inflicting the most fiendish and merciless death conceivable.  Let is therefore be

Resolved 1.  That while we deprecate with unspeakable horror the awful crime which usually affords the excuse of the lyncher and is usually the occasion of his crime, we would call upon people to remember God’s word, “Vengeance is mine.  I will repay, saith the Lord,”

Resolved 2.  We deplore the fact and condemn the crime of lynching wherever and for whatever crime invoked.  Two wrongs never make a right.

Resolved 3.  We urge upon our people the solemn duty to discourage the crime of lynching in any and every possible way.  Let us uphold the dignity and majesty of the law, as upon its full enforcement every good thing in our fair land depends.

Respectfully submitted,
L. M. Fowler
J. B. Turrentine
A. G. Scruggs


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