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Beech Bottom Race Riot, 1921

-The Afro American (Baltimore), April 29, 1921, p. 4



Many of Colored People Have Returned Home After Being Forced Out By Mob

The Associated Negro Press
Wheeling, W. Va., April 28

Driven from their homes in many instances without being given an opportunity to collect their belongings, colored residents of Beech Bottom, Brooke County, have sought temporary refuge in surrounding towns, nearly a score being housed in hotels and among friends in Wheeling.

The insistent race riot Saturday night was the aftermath of an attack Friday night on Mrs. John Horne, a white woman, 22 years old, who was waylaid, it is believed, by two prisoners who escaped from the Wellsbury jail. One of the prisoners was white and the other colored.

The mob spirit developed soon after news was received in Beech Bottom of the outrage and many colored citizens were warned by friends that they had better leave the community. No violence was shown, however, till after dark when a crowd collected and made a tour of the colored section. Families were roused from their beds and informed that they had till noon Sunday to get out, these warnings bringing punctuated with a fusillade of shot. From one refugee, a woman who with two small children, is now staying at the Veise Hotel on Market street, it was learned that the mob numbered at times 75 men and boys, some of the latter appearing not more than 14 years old, and all armed with rifles, revolvers and shot-guns.

From the Brooke County sheriff's office assurance was given yesterday that the community was quiet and that extra deputies were patrolling the section to prevent further outbreaks. One colored man, J. C. Cason, manager of a boarding house for colored workmen, defied the mob when it called on him, declaring that he would not yield his rights until he was killed. He and one other man, are the only colored persons who stayed in Beech Bottom over night, it is reported. In the last few days many of the 200 residents have returned.

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