The abolition of slavery created a new dilemma for African Americans. While they may have technically been free, they were still considered a second class citizen by many, especially in the South and some Midwestern states. Lynching's were common practice as a method of dealing with those African Americans who had "stepped out of their place". No one was safe from the terror that lynch mob produced, and they didn't discriminate based on age or sex. Women, children, and men all were probable candidates for being lynched if it suited the desires or the needs of the lynch mob. These individuals were generally hung from trees to be made examples for the rest of the African American community. The message was heeded and returned fear rather than respect from African Americans towards their White counterparts.
This particular lynching occurred in response to the death of a White community member and the alleged rape of his girlfriend. Rather than allowing the law to render justice on the 2 African American men accused of the crime, some of the White community members in Marion, IN decided to render their own swift and brutal justice that summer evening in 1930. Rather than await a trial, the townspeople became the judge, jury and executioner that night.