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The Lynching of Zachariah Walker

According to figures compiled by the Tuskegee Institute, there were 4,743 lynchings in the United States between 1882 and 1968. Of these, only eight took place in the Keystone State. One of these eight unfortunate victims of vigilante justice was Zachariah Walker, who met his demise at the hands of an angry mob in Coatesville on August 13, 1911.

In the early years of the 20th century, Coatesville was a home to twelve thousand inhabitants, many of whom were employed by one of the two big steel mills in the city, thereby giving Coatesville its nickname, the "Pittsburgh of the East". On a hot August night in 1911, the Worth Brothers' Steel Company was being guarded by the watchful eye of a former policeman named Edgar Rice, who left his post after hearing three gunshots nearby. He raced to the scene of the commotion and found a young black man, Zack Walker, in the act of robbing a group of immigrant ironworkers.

Rice attempted to subdue Walker, but the robber-- who later con…

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