Photo credits: San Diego Evening Tribune
An angry white lynch mob in Wagoner County, Oklahoma, kidnapped a 17-year-old Black adolescent girl named Marie Scott on March 31, 1914.
The savage racists dragged Scott, pulled her screaming from her jail cell, and hung her from a nearby telephone pole. Days before, a young white man named Lemuel Pierce had been stabbed to death. When he and several other white males were in the city’s “colored area” Marie was charged with involvement. According to the Associated Press wire story and reports carried by Northern newspapers, the gang of white males entered the Black home neighborhood with the intent of sexually assaulting Black women and attempting to rape Marie Scott.
According to some stories, Marie stabbed Pierce in self-defense; according to others, Marie’s brother murdered Pierce in an attempt to save her, and Marie was captured and executed only after her brother fled. On the other side, local news stories made no mention of why the white youngsters were in the mostly Black area or what they did while there — instead claiming that Marie Scott stabbed Pierce unprovoked and in cold blood.
Racial fear comprised the continual danger of sexual assault and a total absence of legal protection for centuries when it come to Black women. The same communities that lynched and murdered Black males on the basis of the most flimsy charges of sexual intercourse with white women routinely allowed and excused white men’s sexual assaults on Black women and girls.
Marie Scott may have been one of the several Black women targeted for sexual abuse during this period by white males who knew they would face no repercussions for rampaging over her neighborhood. Whether she acted in self-defense or was shielded by her brother, Marie Scott died at the hands of a mob —- a victim of a culture that undervalued her life and body and denied her the right to self-defense at trial.
The right to be free from rape, terrorism, and racial violence was denied to her.