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This Day in Georgia History

December 20, 1893

“Mobbing and Lynching” Outlawed

Gov. William Northen approved a law making “mobbing or lynching” a felony crime subject to imprisonment for one to twenty years. Should death occur from “mob violence,” the person or persons causing such death were to be tried and subject to penalties under state law for murder. The law also placed on peace officers the specific duty to stop mob violence, and if necessary to summon citizens of the community to help by using “every means in their power to prevent such mob violence.” Failure to act by a peace officer or by a citizen summoned to help was declared a misdemeanor offense. Northen had pushed the bill through the General Assembly, though its passage did little or nothing to stop the lynching of blacks.