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The Consequences of a Small Town Murder: The Lynching of W.C. Williams and Louisiana Politics

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Abstract:

In October 1938 a crowd of several-hundred Lincoln Parish, Louisiana residents witnessed the lynching of 19 year old W.C. Williams. The torture, hanging, and shooting of an African American teenager whose only crime was to wait alone for a bus on a rural highway had consequences far beyond the piney hills of north Louisiana. Not only did Williams' murder mark the end of an uneasy racial truce that had lasted since the turn of the turn of the twentieth century in the small town of Ruston but also it marked the ascendancy of the politics of segregationist demagoguery in Louisiana. When the N.A.A.C.P., under the leadership of Walter White, petitioned the Roosevelt administration to initiate anti-lynching legislation in the wake of Williams' killing, Louisiana Senator Allen Ellender defended a "southern way of life" on the floor of the United States Senate and promised to uphold segregation, which carried an implicit endorsement of lynching. Ellender's actions and words ushered a new era in Louisiana politics. For the previous decade the state Democratic Party under the influence of Huey P. Long had abandoned racial politics. Ellender, who was a Longite politician, broke with this tradition and made race the issue in state politics. In turn, Ellender cast a long shadow for he served in the U.S. Senate until his death in 1972.
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Association:
Name: American Society of Criminology (ASC)
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http://www.asc41.com


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p126321_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Gelpi, Paul. "The Consequences of a Small Town Murder: The Lynching of W.C. Williams and Louisiana Politics" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology (ASC), <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p126321_index.html>

APA Citation:

Gelpi, P. "The Consequences of a Small Town Murder: The Lynching of W.C. Williams and Louisiana Politics" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology (ASC) <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p126321_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In October 1938 a crowd of several-hundred Lincoln Parish, Louisiana residents witnessed the lynching of 19 year old W.C. Williams. The torture, hanging, and shooting of an African American teenager whose only crime was to wait alone for a bus on a rural highway had consequences far beyond the piney hills of north Louisiana. Not only did Williams' murder mark the end of an uneasy racial truce that had lasted since the turn of the turn of the twentieth century in the small town of Ruston but also it marked the ascendancy of the politics of segregationist demagoguery in Louisiana. When the N.A.A.C.P., under the leadership of Walter White, petitioned the Roosevelt administration to initiate anti-lynching legislation in the wake of Williams' killing, Louisiana Senator Allen Ellender defended a "southern way of life" on the floor of the United States Senate and promised to uphold segregation, which carried an implicit endorsement of lynching. Ellender's actions and words ushered a new era in Louisiana politics. For the previous decade the state Democratic Party under the influence of Huey P. Long had abandoned racial politics. Ellender, who was a Longite politician, broke with this tradition and made race the issue in state politics. In turn, Ellender cast a long shadow for he served in the U.S. Senate until his death in 1972.

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