Lee Key (Lynching of)

On May 10, 1901, an African-American man named Lee Key was shot by a masked mob near Knoxville (Johnson County) for allegedly terrorizing other Black residents in the area.

Newspaper reports described Key as “obstreperous,” “notorious,” and “troublesome.” According to the Arkansas Democrat, he had been terrorizing other African Americans and “making himself obnoxious in various ways.” He reportedly had shot and wounded another Black man in Knoxville several years earlier, and had served time in the state penitentiary for other crimes. On Friday night, May 10, a group of masked men went to Key’s house and called to him to come out. Key grabbed a shotgun, but before he could fire, a member of the mob shot him with a shotgun. Key was found dead in the yard the next morning. News reports give no further information on this event.

For additional information:
“State News.” Arkansas Democrat, May 14, 1901, p. 2.

“State News.” Pine Bluff Daily Graphic, May 14, 1901, p. 1.

Nancy Snell Griffith
Davidson, North Carolina

Last Updated: 07/30/2021