Slideshow: Jesse Washington in the paper
From the day after Lucy Fryer’s murder to the day after Jesse Washington met his demise - the Waco Morning News ran a story about Washington each and every day.
However, in the days immediately following the African-American teen’s lynching, the stories stopped.
"That's why the NAACP was sending their own investigators. So they could absolutely get the facts," Patricia Bernstein, author of The First Waco Horror: the Lynching of Jesse Washington and the Rise of the NAACP, said.
Two days after Washington’s hanging, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sent in Woman’s Suffrage leader Elisabeth Freeman to investigate.
In Bernstein's book, she said Freeman was chosen by the organization because people would likely assume she was in Waco for women’s suffrage work.
Bernstein said Freeman told locals she planned on writing a story for a New York paper, telling people Wacoians were not so bad - despite global coverage of Washington’s tortuous lynching.
In a short matter of time, Freeman collected first-hand accounts from witnesses, spoke with city leaders, obtained the trial transcript, purchased the lynching photos and found out exactly who the alleged mob leaders were.
Even with all of the evidence she collected, there was one thing surrounding Washington’s conviction and lynching that Freeman could not fully verify - whether or not Washington actually murdered Lucy Fryer.
“The truth is we really don’t know whether Jesse Washington actually committed this murder or not and there’s absolutely no way to tell,” Bernstein said.
The information Freeman collected was published in a special edition of the NAACP’s newsletter The Crisis.
Tori Hasty is one of the vice presidents for Baylor University's NAACP. She said the organization's reputation for advocacy makes her a proud member.
“That’s what NAACP is for. When things aren’t going right – when people aren’t being treated right. That’s when they call us,” she said. “I’m so happy to be a part of it. I hope that I’m going to be a part of it when I leave school and for the rest of my life.”
The NAACP has been helping communities all over the U.S. for more than 100 years.
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