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Letter from the Assistant Attorney General Regarding Lynching

by on August 6, 2013


Today we share a document just recently digitized by a teacher in our Primarily Teaching 2013 Summer Workshop in Washington, DC. Jen Johnson, a teacher at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago for the last 10 years, found it in the holdings of the National Archives last week, and scanned it so that we could add it to DocsTeach. We added this along with over 50 other newly digitized documents found by participating teachers!

Letter from the Assistant Attorney General Regarding Lynching

In 1919, attorney James A. Ray had written to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer about the lynching of a discharged soldier by a mob in Mississippi. He requested that Palmer “remedy this infernal practice.”

In the succinct response seen here, the Assistant Attorney General replied “that under the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States the Federal Government has no jurisdiction over the matters to which you refer. Your attention is called to the case of Hodges v. United States.”

The letter comes from the General Records of the Department of Justice.


Comments

Stephanie August 8, 2013 at 9:03 am

You can see a very similar document in the post “When the Government Can’t Help” on our Rediscovering Black History blog, along with other documents showing citizens seeking government help who were turned away when there was no way the government could become involved, or a path to resolving the problem had not been carved out.

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