From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Race Riot (Paducah, KY)

In July 1892, Tom Burgess was arrested for the rape of a white woman in Paducah. Fearing that Burgess would be taken from the jail and lynched, a group of armed African American men surrounded the jail. When the lynch party arrived at the jail, a gun battle erupted in which one of the men with the lynch party was killed.

When the sheriff and other law enforcement officers could not convince the African American men to disperse, whites in the Paducah area were called to arms by community members, and the city braced for an all-out race riot. Soldiers and citizens in the Paducah area attempted to overtake the reinforced African American defense. Several of the African American men were shot, and one of the soldiers, Pvt. Elmer D. Edwards, was wounded and later died. The defense around the jail held.

The citizens and the soldiers were headquartered in the courthouse, and the African American men were headquartered in the Odd Fellows Hall. An appeal was made to the Kentucky governor to send troops to Paducah.

For more see "Race Riot in Kentucky," The Emporia Daily Gazette, 7/12/1892, Col. E; and Rioting in America, by P. A. Gilje.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about McCracken County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Paducah, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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NKAA Source: The Emporia daily gazette (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Rioting in America

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“Race Riot (Paducah, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-07-21 18:19:08