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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

December 7, 2021 to December 8, 2021

Newspapers advertised the sermon to be delivered June 21, 1903, a Sunday evening. Crowds gathered outside Olivet Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware, to hear Robert A. Elwood warm to his theme, "Should the murderer of Helen Bishop be lynched?"

On June 16, seventeen year old Bishop had been assaulted on a rural roadside near Price's Corner; she died of a neck wound the next day. Late on the 17th a local Black farm worker, George White, was arrested for the murder. Police allegedly found a bloody knife in his possession. There were no eyewitnesses to the attack....

September 6, 2021
Roanoke Virginia, 1891, First Presbyterian Church, upper right. and approximate location of lynching, lower left, via Library of Congress

In September of 1893, in Roanoke, Virginia, a Black man named Thomas Smith was accused of assaulting and robbing a white woman, run down by a lynch mob, and hanged and mutilated from a hickory tree at the corner of Mountain Avenue and Franklin Road. Following the lynching, the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, William...

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