Perry massacre

Deaths 4
Location Perry, Florida
Died Unknown
  • December 6, 1922 - Cubrit Dixon
  • December 8, 1922 - Charles Wright
  • December 12, 1922 - Albert Young
  • December 15, 1922 - Unidentified Black man
Criminal penalty Unknown


The Perry massacre was a racially motivated conflict in Perry, Florida, in December, 1922. Whites killed four black men, including burning Charles Wright at the stake in a lynching, and destroyed several buildings in the black community of Perry after the murder of Ruby Hendry, a white female schoolteacher.


The body of a young white woman, Annie “Ruby” Hendry, was found with her throat slashed, lying in a pool of blood, at 4:40 p.m. on December 2, 1922, in Perry in Taylor County, Florida. Her face was badly disfigured from having been beaten with a blunt instrument, so it took half an hour to determine her identity. On December 5th, the police had linked the murder weapons found at the scene, a double-barrelled shotgun and a bloody razor, to a black man who had been residing in the area and using the name "Charley Wright". He was determined to be an escaped convict from adjacent Dixie County. Search parties with guns and bloodhounds were everywhere. Each night after the body was found, buildings serving the black community in Perry were burnt down: schoolhouse, lodge, amusement hall, and then the church.

Authorities deputized local citizens and the roads were sealed. On December 6th, a black man coming from Madison County into Taylor County, Cubrit Dixon, was stopped and told to put his hands up by armed citizens who had been deputized. Dixon was shot and killed when he did not comply and seemed to be reaching for a gun in his back pocket. Examination of his body found only a closed pocketknife in his back pocket.

On December 7th, Albert Young was arrested in Valdosta, Georgia. A Black man, Young was an escaped convict from Kindlon, Georgia, and an acquaintance of Wright’s. On December 8th, Charley Wright was arrested in Madison County and identified by police as having used the name "Jim Stalworth". Wright was then reported to have confessed to murdering Ruby Hendry and Young was reported to have admitted to having been with Wright. However, it was also reported that Wright said Young had not participated in the murder.

On December 8th, a crowd of 3,000 to 5,000 white men stopped the transportation of the prisoners and took them for a kangaroo court trial. Wright was determined by the mob to be guilty and burned to death. Young was returned to sheriff's custody and taken to the jail in Taylor County. On December 12th, when Young was being moved from the jail, he was abducted and shot to death by a smaller mob.

The Madison–Enterprise newspaper reported on December 15, 1922 that a black man in Perry had been "accused of writing 'an improper note' to a white woman. As retribution for these actions, the man was shot to death in his home and his home was burned down on him."

Wright, a 21-year-old escaped convict, and Albert (or Arthur) Young, his alleged accomplice, were arrested and jailed for Hendry's murder. A mob several thousand strong, made up of local and out-of-state whites, seized the accused from the sheriff, and extracted a "confession" from Wright by torturing him. Wright claimed to have acted alone. He was subsequently burned at the stake and the crowd collected souvenirs of his body parts and clothing. Following this, two more black men were shot and hanged. Whites burned the town's black school, Masonic lodge, church, amusement hall, and several families' homes.

Lynching of 1922

This table is from a report by the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

  1. ^ The news of this lynching did not reach the national media until January 8, 1922, and so is recorded as the first lynching of 1922 in America. The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary recorded five lynching incidents recorded in December 1921, none of which in South Carolina
  2. ^ First report said he was fatally shot but he survived the lynching

National memorial

Memorial Corridor, National Memorial for Peace and Justice

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 26, 2018, in a setting of 6 acres (2.4 ha). Featured among other things, is a sculpture by Kwame Akoto-Bamfo of a mother with a chain around her neck and an infant in her arms. On a hill overlooking the sculpture is the Memorial Corridor which displays 805 hanging steel rectangles, each representing the counties in the United States where a documented lynching took place and, for each county, the names of those lynched.