“A Fair Mob”

  • James H. Madison


The stories told in Grant County and around Indiana and the nation about the events of August 7 were eventually told in courts of law. Lady Justice, scale in hand, perched atop the dome of the courthouse, but she lacked sufficient strength or wisdom to punish a single person for the deaths of Tom Shipp and Abe Smith. Inside her courthouse the white community of Grant County used the machinery of justice to state their solidarity, to draw boundaries of separation, and to demonstrate their power over their black neighbors.


Attorney General Good Citizen White Community City Police Grand Jury 
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  1. 2.
    See Donald D. Landon, “Clients, Colleagues, and Community: The Shaping of Zealous Advocacy in Country Law Practice,” American Bar Foundation Research Journal 81 (1985), 81–111.Google Scholar
  2. 34.
    Charles Kettleborough, ed., Constitution Making in Indiana: A Source Book of Constitutional Documents with Historical Introduction and Critical Notes, vol. 1, 1790–1851 (Indianapolis, 1916), 298.Google Scholar
  3. 38.
    William Pickens, “Aftermath of a Lynching,” Nation, April 15, 1931, 406.Google Scholar
  4. 39.
    Southern Commission on the Study of Lynching, Lynchings and What They Mean (Atlanta, 1931), 55.Google Scholar
  5. 41.
    For a succinct discussion of these issues generally see Linda Gordon, The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction (Cambridge, Mass., 1999), 254–74.Google Scholar

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© James H. Madison 2001

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  • James H. Madison

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