The Jesse Washington Lynching - The Waco Horror
1) Identify and discuss ways in which this article reflects both primary and secondary sources of information. Primary sources can be historical artifacts, autobiographies, non-fiction books and documentaries, unadulterated materials, newspapers, films, archived materials, raw data, records, birth certificates, etc. Secondary sources are generally interpreted materials such as opinion pieces, biographies, fiction novels as well as newspapers, movies/films, documentaries and works that have been subject to interpretation from others outside of the original source). Which sources of information are more reliable and why?
2) What does the article reveal about the city of Waco in 1890, 1900, and 1910? What value does this information present to the historian?
3) What does the section on the crime reveal about the accused, the victim as well as the local citizens? What does the section conceal about the individuals and groups in terms of motives, character, prejudices, and interpretations of the event as well as their responses?
4) What role did local authorities play in Jesse's fate? What does the phrase "the exigencies of Waco politics are said to have demanded a lynching," mean and who said this?
5) What does the investigator discover about the character/nature of the county officials that would be important to know in conducting a fair trial?
6) Do you think it was possible for Jesse Washington to have received a fair trial in Waco at that time? Why? Use evidence from the article to explain your answer.
7) What information do we learn from the pictures of the crowd?
8) What evidence from the article supports that Jesse's confession was given under duress? Why is this important to understand?
9) Provide evidence from the document that supports whether the lynching could or could not have been prevented.
10) What does the brutality of the lynching reveal about the mob?
11) Why do you think the investigator includes graphic details from the lynching and other information like, "very little drinking was done" and "women and children who desired to view the scene were allowed to do so?"
12) What is the identity of the investigator and what does he find out from Judge McCullum about the lynching? Provide evidence from the article that either supports or rejects whether the judge is cooperative and fair.
13) Did everyone in town agree with the lynching? Why did citizens not pursue a lawsuit
14) What happens in Waco in response to the lynching?
15) Do local residents feel that justice was served? Why or why not?
16) What does this article and investigation reveal about the nature of prejudice, white supremacy and mob mentality? How do these things impede law and order, justice, civility, rationality and elevate the abuse of power within institutions while silencing victims and good people?
17) What conclusion does the investigator draw about the investigation? Would this event happen today? Why?