He Died Trying To Make Life Better For His Family

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Frazier Baker knew the ways white residents of Florence County could make life hell for a Black man who aimed to improve his livelihood.

But with six mouths to feed, he eagerly stepped into the position of postmaster for the city of Effingham and the predominately white town of Lake City, SC. White residents violently objected. 

For six months, Baker and his family were subjected to harassment and death threats. 

Then on February 22, 1898, flames engulfed the Lake City post office… while Frazier, his wife Lavinia, and their six children were inside. 

The family tried to escape through the building’s exit, only to find a lynch mob, armed with shotguns, had surrounded them. 

A hundred bullets ravaged the office that doubled as a residence, hitting both parents and all but two of the children. Frazier was killed instantly, while their baby girl, 2-year-old Julia, died in her mother’s arms.  

The thirteen white men who were indicted on 23 counts of federal conspiracy charges were never convicted by the all-white jury who deliberated the case. When the jury agrees your hate-killing is justified, what could you expect?

Frazier Baker’s killing was the hateful response any Black person faced if they dared to be the FIRST to “step out of line” and into a role that was considered too high status for prideful bigots.
 

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