Community Remembrance Project
Anne Arundel County
Between 1875 and 1911, racial terror lynchings of African Americans by white mobs created a legacy of violence, intimidation, and injustice that has not previously been acknowledged. At least five racial terror lynchings took place in Anne Arundel County, traumatizing the black community. These lawless acts of violence targeted African Americans accused of misconduct or crimes, all of whom were killed without a trial — many under false accusation. In 1875, a white mob lynched John Simms at Simms Crossing after seizing him from the county jail, which stood here on Calvert Street. In 1884, George Briscoe was being transported to the jail when a white mob abducted and lynched him by the Magothy River Bridge. In 1898, Wright Smith was taken from the county jail by a white mob intent on lynching him. He attempted to escape but the mob shot him in the back of the head as he fled. Henry Davis was seized from the jail in 1906, dragged by a mob through the nearby Clay Street black community, and hanged by College Creek. He was shot over 100 times. Five years later, a white mob abducted King Johnson over 100 times. Five years later, a white mob abducted King Johnson from the Brooklyn Station House. The mob beat Mr. Johnson, dragged him through the streets, and shot him
to death. Although the perpetrators of this violence were often known to law enforcement, no one was ever convicted of crimes for these acts of racial terror. Memorializing these victims reminds us to remain persistent in the pursuit of justice for all.
Equal Justice Initiative
Connecting the dots
Lynching in America
Thousands of black people were the victims of racial terror lynching in the United States between 1877 and 1950. The lynching of African Americans during this era was a form of racial terrorism intended to intimidate black people and enforce racial hierarchy and segregation. After the Civil War, violent resistance to equal rights for African Americans and an ideology of white supremacy led to fatal violence against black women, men, and children. Many African Americans were lynched following accusations of violating social customs, engaging in interracial relationships, or committing crimes, even when there was no evidence tying the accused to any offense. It was not uncommon for lynch mobs to seize their victims from jails, prisons, courtrooms, or out of police hands, often without fear of any legal repercussions. Though armed and legally required to protect the men and women in their custody, police rarely used force to resist white mobs intent on killing black people and sometimes
even participated in lynchings. Racial terror lynchings often included burnings and mutilation, sometimes in front of crowds numbering in the thousands. Many names of those whose lives were claimed by these acts of racially motivated violence were not recorded and will never be known, but at least 29 racial terror lynchings have been documented in Maryland.