Mary Turner, Mary Hattie Graham Turner

In 1918, in Lowndes County, Georgia, a white mob lynched and burned Mary Hattie Graham Turner (1899–1918), hanging her by her feet from a bridge, and riddled her body with bullets after cutting her unborn baby from her body and stomping it to death. Mary had married Hazel "Hayes" Turner the previous year in Colquitt County, Georgia, and was eight months pregnant with their child when Hayes was lynched by a white mob searching for the murderer of a plantation owner in Brooks County, Georgia—the plantation owner for whom the Turners worked. Because Mary spoke out publicly in defense of her husband's innocence, the mob turned its vengeance on her and vowed to "teach her a lesson." In the end, the mob killed 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