Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

August 19, 1911

On August 19, 1911, the Pittsburgh Courier ran an article regarding the recent lynching of Zachariah Taylor in Coatesville, Pennsylvania (the victim is referred to alternately as Zachariah Taylor and Zachariah Walker in historical accounts). At a mass meeting at John Wesley A.M.E. Zion church, black citizens expressed outrage at the lynching and heard from speakers including Rev. Broadax Smith. “The white people are going to unload the colored people,” Smith said. “The time has now come for us to do something to stand up like men, resent wrongs, demand rights. Let one wrong after another go unresented and after awhile no one will be safe from the same punishment, the same diabolical deviltry meted out to the unfortunate victim of the Coatesville affair. We have had too much mourning and praying. Pray so well and good by keeping your trusty musket near and depend upon it. Quit mourning and praying for reform but be up and doing.”

The Walker lynching received national attention and mobilized a movement in Pennsylvania for a state anti-lynching law, which passed in 1923.

For contemporary stories on the lynching of Zachariah Taylor, see Michaelle Bond, “Coatesville NAACP looks back on 75 years.”

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