Alamance County, NC

Alleged offense: Racially motivated (no alleged crime)
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: Unknown
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): No
Legal intervention (following lynching): Yes
Mob size: 63
Mob members: James Bradshaw; Michael Thompson; Jesse Thompson; Michael Teer; George Mebane; Henry Robison; George Rogers; John S. Dixon; Walter Thornton; David Johnson; Thomas Tate; Van Buren Holt; Jacob A. Long
Alleged victim: N/A
Household Status:
Occupation: Town Councilman

Wyatt Outlaw was a prominent African American man in Graham, NC–a member of the Republican Party, one of the men deeded land for the area’s first African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and a member of the Union League. He was appointed to the town council of Graham, to the extreme displeasure of some white leaders and townspeople. One night, Klansmen rode through Graham in an effort to scare the African American population, but Outlaw and a group of men shot at them, frightening them away but hurting no one. Outraged that an African American man had the power to police them, the Klansmen dragged Outlaw from his home on February 26, 1870 and hanged him from a tree in the Graham Courthouse square. Wyatt Outlaw had a note on his chest that read “Beware, ye guilty, both black and white.” Debates over anti-lynching bills frequently cited Outlaw’s lynching and newspapers circulated testimony about his killing throughout the state. In 1873, Albion Tourgee led a movement to re-examine the murder, and a grand jury issued 63 indictments. To avoid having to pursue the matter further, the Democratically-led General Assembly repealed the law under which the indictments were brought, ending the legal basis and with it, the legal peril of the indictees.


Death certificate: None found
Census: None found

News coverage:

The Outrage at Graham

Portion of Grand Jury Testimony

Bill of Indictment for Murder which the Ku Klux of this Legislature are endeavoring to Quash!


Town: Graham, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 36.069502, -79.400351
Rationale: Site was named as the Graham Courthouse Square.


Additional Resources: <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyatt_Outlaw”>Wyatt Outlaw on Wikipedia</a>


Researcher’s Note: