Legacy of Violence
Lynch Mobs and Executions in Minnesota
ISBN10: 0816638101 ISBN13: 9780816638109 Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Pr Published: Sep 1 2003 Weight: 1.26lbs. Height: 9.25" Width: 6.50" Depth: 1.00" Language: English
Minnesota is one of only twelve states that does not allow the death penalty, but that was not always the case. In fact, until 1911 executions in the state were legal and frequently carried out. In Legacy of Violence, John D. Bessler takes us on a compelling journey through the history of lynchings and state-sanctioned executions that dramatically shaped Minnesota’s past.Through personal accounts of those involved with the events, Bessler traces the history of both famous and lesser-known executions and lynchings in Minnesota, the state’s anti–death penalty and anti-lynching movements, and the role of the media in the death penalty debate. Bessler reveals Abraham Lincoln’s thoughts as he ordered the largest mass execution in U.S. history of thirty-eight Indians in Mankato after the Dakota Conflict of 1862. He recounts the events surrounding the death of Ann Bilansky, the only woman ever executed in Minnesota, and the infamous botched hanging of William Williams, which led to renewed calls for the abolition of capital punishment. He tells the story of the 1920 lynching in Duluth of three African-American circus workers—wrongfully accused of rape—and the anti-lynching crusade that followed. The significant role that Minnesota played in America’s transformation to private, after-dark executions is presented in the discussion of the “midnight assassination law.