After midnight on December 12, 1917, three men took Wade Hampton, a Black man charged with attempting to rape three white women, from his Rock Springs jail cell at gunpoint. Less than an hour later, Hampton was dead.
It began with a bowl of mush and ended in the murders of two men—one shot through the heart, the other dragged from the jail and lynched by a vicious mob of 300 to 400 people. Afterward, no one would testify to who was in the mob.
In 1904, a Laramie mob hanged African-American Joe Martin from a light pole near the courthouse, drawing a crowd of 1,000 people or more. Despite having called several witnesses, a grand jury brought no indictments. And lynchings of Black men became more and more frequent in Wyoming in the coming two decades.