1892 - The People's Grocery Lynchings
In March of 1892, in a mixed race neighborhood called the Curve, near Mississippi Blvd and Walker Avenue a white grocer named William Barrett found his business shrinking because of the success of grocery nearby run by three black men, Will Stewart, Tommie Moss, and Calvin McDowell. Rumors and trumped up charges sent a large group of armed white men into the store. Gunshots were traded and several white men were injured. The three black grocers, all family men, were arrested and jailed. Three days later the downtown jail was stormed and Stewart, Moss and McDowell were dragged out and taken to the nearby Chesapeake and Ohio rail yards. The three men fought back, but eventually McDowell was shot point blank by a shotgun. Will Stewart resisted until he was shot in the neck. Tommie Moss was asked if he had any final words. He said “Tell my people to go west. There is no justice for them here.” He was shot and left with the others under a pile of brush.
This lynching is also known as the Lynchings at the Curve.
Regarding her good friend Thomas Moss, Ida B. Wells wrote:
"A finer, cleaner man than he never walked the streets of Memphis. He was well liked, a favorite with everybody; yet he was murdered with no more consideration that if he had been a dog...The colored people feel that every white man in Memphis who consented in his death is as guilty as those who fired the guns which took his life."
"...with the aid of the city and county authorities and the daily papers, that white grocer had indeed put an end to his rival Negro grocer as well as to his business."
–Ida B. Wells, in Crusade for Justice, 1892
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