Gaston County, NC

Alleged offense: None
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: 23
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): No
Legal intervention (following lynching): Yes
Mob size: 4
Mob members: Graham Dellinger; Haywood Dellinger; Robert Sellers; Fred Hudson
Alleged victim: N/A
Household Status: Married
Occupation: Textile Worker

Robert Melker and his wife were driving in Gaston County when four white men started yelling at them and chased them home. Melker’s mother shot at the men with a shotgun, wounding one. The men came back with their own shotguns, called Robert Melker to the door and shot him down. Melker’s case, which went to court and resulted in convictions for the four men involved, was the subject of considerable debate after a Tuskegee Institute study classified it as a lynching. Politicians and newspaper men worried about North Carolina’s reputation claimed the crime was a murder rather than a lynching.


Death certificate: Robert Melker Death Certificate
Census: None found

News coverage:

Three Lynchings Reported Thus Far in the South

Slipped Up This Time

Tuskegee Head Stands Pat on Lynching Report


Town: Unrecorded
Latitude/Longitude: 35.285054, -81.287308
Rationale: Nearest city or town

Additional Resources:

Researcher’s Note: