Hazel "Hayes" Turner

In 1918, a white mob on a manhunt for the murderer of a plantation owner lynched Hazel "Hayes" Turner (1898?–1918) in Brooks County, Georgia, although he was innocent of the crime another man committed. His wife, Mary Turner, whom he had married in Colquitt County, Georgia, and who spoke out about his innocence, was also lynched, burned, and riddled with bullets; their unborn child was cut from her body and stomped to death. In the end, the mob lynched thirteen people before the murderer was killed in a shootout with police, and more than 500 African Americans fled Brooks and Lowndes Counties in fear for their lives. Although local officials knew the names of the people who participated in the killings, they never charged or convicted any of them of the lynchings.

In response to the lynchings, the NAACP appealed to Missouri Congressman Leonidas Dyer, who crafted the 1922 Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives but failed passage repeatedly in the U.S. Senate because of opposition from Southern Senators. Thus, the bill never became law.

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Last modified: 28 August 2019