USUALLY when I do deathiversaries they are WAY less…sad? I mean they’re SAD ‘cause generally these people die of unnatural causes but the fact is really about their lives and what we learned from them while they were here and this one is…well. Not That. So with that warning let’s get into today’s HFOTD**

After the 1896 Presidential election, the (Republican) William McKinley administration appointed hundreds of Black People to postmasterships during his remaining tenure, as part of patronage jobs to build local networks.  And OF COURSE white people were like WHAT. THEE. F*CK. Because a) how DARE this outgoing administration appoint a bunch of people on their way out (AAAHAHAHAHAHAHA *cough*) and more importantly b) they claimed to have economic anxiety fear increased political power of Black postmasters would embolden them to proposition white women.

Anyway. Frazier Baker, a 40 year old married schoolteacher, father of six(!) kids, was appointed postmaster of Lake City in S. Carolina in 1897. White folks initiated a boycott and circulated petitions calling for Baker’s dismissal. One complaint was that Baker had cut mail delivery from 3x/day to one after threats against his life were made. I guess…he didn’t care for death threats? A postal inspector investigated and recommended the post office be closed, and in response a white mob burned it down with the expectation people gave a damn what some backwards country hicks thought about having a Black postmaster. The government obtained space on the outskirts of town because y’all still want mail don’tcha? A lessening of racial tension led Baker to send for his family in February 1898. A LESSENING. Baker still received death threats and he let his superiors in Washington know people were still mad.

At 1 am, February 22nd, the Baker family woke to find their house (which also served as the post office) on fire. Upon realizing he wasn’t gonna be able to put out the fire, Baker sent his son to get help, but as soon as he opened the door, he was met with gunfire. Saying that they “might as well die running as standing still”, Frazier Baker headed to the door, but before he could open it, a bullet struck his youngest daughter, killing her. Baker threw open the door and was cut down in a hail of gunfire. Baker’s wife, Lavinia, wounded by the bullet that killed her daughter, managed to escape the burning house and hide until the flames and gunfire subsided.

The lynching was met with widespread condemnation, including in the South. But the S. Carolina Senator who was an elected official whose job it was supposed to be to serve ALL the constituents in the state, said “The very fine proud people of Lake City refused to receive their mail from a HARD R [look at me, getting my work filter the runaround]”. Journalist Ida B Wells noted this mob ain’t even bother to make up an excuse for murdering Baker, the way they usually did, and told President McKinley this was a federal matter, since he died “at his post of duty in defense of his country’s honor, as truly as did ever a soldier on the field of battle”

A grand jury was convened but surprising nobody at all, it failed to return any indictments. The McKinley administration conducted a robust investigation, including offering at $1,500 reward ($46,098 today) for the arrest and conviction of members of the mob. Thirteen men were ultimately indicted in US Circuit Court on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, assault and destruction of mail after 2 men turned state’s evidence in exchange for their charges being dropped. An all-white jury deliberated for 24 hours before declaring a mistrial. The jury was deadlocked in reaching a verdict 5-5 and the case was never retried. [Here is where I’d normally post links to ALL of the lynching perpetuated by police of Black people but there are so many that my mind cannot just think of one so Imma just invite YOU to think of one, then think of how the cops in questions just…kept on being cops. Also please note that they are generally called “officer involved” something or other instead of their proper name: LYNCHING]

Moving on! In 1918, the St. James AME Church was constructed on the site of Baker’s burned post office and house and on October 5, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE, the church was burned down. Locals suspected arson by white supremacists angry at the activism of Minister Joseph DeLaine during the Civil Rights Movement on behalf of the NAACP. He’d been warned that he lived “where the Black postmaster was shot to death”.  In 2003, the state General Assembly passed a resolution installing a South Carolina historical marker about the lynching and house fire. That marker was unveiled in October 2013 on the previous location of the post office and Baker’s home.

**Yes. I am aware I left off the B in BHFOTD; HOWEVER, I’d like to point out that really it’s just for form any damn way since Black people built this country AND Black History *IS IN FACT* The History of The United States™

Anyway Happy Monday! Hope you had a good day, see you tomorrow for who knows what kinda fact Imma pull out my ass!