Remembering George Dinning, a black Southerner who in 1897 defended his family from a white mob, then courageously brought suit against his tormentors — and won.
FRANKLIN, Ky. • Late on the night of Jan. 21, 1897, a group of 25 armed white men showed up at the home of George and Mary Dinning and told the family they had 10 days to leave.* They accused George Dinning, a former slave, of stealing chickens and hogs.
Dinning insisted he was no thief, but these Night Riders weren’t listening. They shot into the house — most of the couple’s 12 terrified children were there — and hit Dinning in the arm and grazed his forehead.
Despite his wounds, Dinning returned fire, killing a 32-year-old man named Jodie Conn. After the whites fled, Dinning made his way to nearby Franklin — the county seat of Simpson County, Ky. — where he turned himself in to the sheriff.
The vigilantes, as Dinning had feared, returned to his home and on a bitterly cold night forced his wife and children to leave. They then plundered the Continue reading “‘There was great rejoicing in hell this morning’”