As violence escalated, Kentucky newspapers contributed to a climate of terror by calling the victims bad negroes,“barbaric” or lazy and promiscuous.
Hickman, Ky. — Holding 2-year-old Ransey in her arms, Annie Walker begged the Night Riders for mercy.
“Disregarding her pleadings, the infuriated mob opened fire and a bullet pierced the body of the infant. A second shot struck the mother in the abdomen and she fell, still holding the dead body of her infant,” the Public Ledger newspaper reported.
Described as armed, masked and riding horses, a mob of about 50 people rode to the Walker farm near Hickman in Fulton County on Oct. 3, 1908, and set the house on fire because David Walker refused to leave “to be whipped.” As the family attempted to escape, the mob shot him, his wife and their five children, including the 2-year-old. The Walkers’ oldest son burned to death inside the cabin, several newspapers reported. Three children survived.