Acts of Hate
A crime is an act that is illegal. A hate crime is an illegal act that is motivated by bias or prejudice against a person or people viewed to be part of a minority group. The hate crime is intended to bring about fear, scare, terrify or cause psychological harm. Victims of hate crimes often continue to feel threatened long after an attack because they were targeted simply for who they are.
Lynchings were acts that were common in the late 1800’s and into the 1930’s. This act typically involved a group of people who punished someone without legal process or authority. Usually this occurred through the act of hanging. African Americans often were targeted by this act of terror. It was meant to spread fear among African Americans and other minority groups, which served the social purpose of maintaining white supremacy in society.
Cross burnings are associated with the Ku Klux Klan. This group burned crosses on hillsides or near the homes of people they wished to intimidate in order to create a feeling of fear.
Hate Crime Stories:
Shafer Chapel & James Cameron
In 1930, three young men from Marion, Indiana were arrested for a crime. Two of the young men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were lynched by a mob. This act of hate shook the communities of east central Indiana. The news of the lynching traveled to Reverend Johnson, pastor of Shafer Chapel in Muncie. Johnson knew that the bodies of both men needed to be cared for and prepared for burial. News of Johnson caring for the bodies spread through Muncie and members of the local KKK chapter were rumored to be forming a mob to take the bodies. The African American community stood ready to protect the bodies all night so that they could be prepared for burial.
James Cameron, one of the young men, escaped being lynched when to someone from the mob calling out that he had done no wrong. Cameron went on to become an activist and founded several NAACP chapters and the Black Holocaust Museum
George Dale and his son were attacked by members of the Klan, in which Dale shot and killed one of the men in self-defense. The sheriff in town, as well as Judge Dearth, did nothing about the incident. Both men were assumed to be working with the Klan and did not want others to know about the Klan’s actions against Dale. He created and wrote for the Post-Democrat newspaper in Muncie, in which he wrote anti-Klan articles and was put in jail for doing so. Newspapers around the country rallied for his
support. Dale eventually became the mayor of Muncie and ultimately ran the Klan out of town.
Lezlie Winter endured harassment and violence from peers and family because her mother and stepfather was an interracial couple. Her home was shot at by the KKK and her family was run out of town. Lezlie is now an influential member of the community in Marion and Gas City. She is the current Director of Curriculum in the Mississinewa School Corporation.
In 2001 the KKK attempted to rally at the courthouse in Hartford City. The rally would have occurredduring Hartford City’s annual civil war reenactment event, called Civil War Days. Mayor Joseph Castelo wrote a letter to Rick Larsen, the grand dragon of the KKK, rejecting their request to gather in Hartford City.
William (Bill) Shaw
Greenfield Daily Reporter William Shaw was invited to a KKK rally in Greenfield by Grand Dragon William Chaney. Upon returning to his vehicle after the rally, Shaw found his headlights to be smashed. A note that was left on the windshield said “The eyes of the Klan are on you.” The Klan was angry that Shaw had been covering the rally, as well as their other recent affairs. When Shaw asked a security guard the
purpose of the rally, the guard replied “to express the Klan’s eternal contempt for blacks and Jews who try to walk on the rights of us patriotic white Americans.”
Shaw received threatening calls from the Klan following the rally. The editor of the Greenfield Daily Reporter said the newspaper would continue to report on Klan activity and would not be intimidated.
Ball State Archives and Special Collections
Rebecca Murphy enrolled her three biracial children into a local school in Elwood. However, she was forced to transfer her children to schools in Anderson with their father after being harassed by the KKK. She kept one of her children with her, Micah Mitchell, who had a white father. She began receiving threatening calls from the KKK. Members of the Klan would circle her house in cars, wearing their outfits. She was
even harassed by coworkers at the factory where she worked. Rebecca and Micah woke up one morning to a cross burning in their front yard. Rebecca filed a civil rights report with the Justice Department.