In one of the most shameful episodes of Omaha history, William Brown was lynched on September 28, 1919. He was arrested for allegedly raping a white woman, and before he could have a trial he was dragged from the courthouse by a mob and killed. As someone who grew up in Omaha during the race riots of the 1960s, and still sees the inequality for women and people of color today, I would like to think we've grown beyond this but can't quite believe it.
Until 2009 Brown's grave had no marker on it. Click here for the Omaha World Herald story about the man from California who donated the money for the marker after seeing a documentary on Henry Fonda. Fonda remembered growing up in Omaha and talked about the lynching. It's ironic that a documentary on a popular actor has to bring to our attention a terrible injustice that happened 93 years ago. It should have been taught in Omaha schools but I don't remember ever hearing about it. This town has a way of comfortably forgetting its past misdeeds, which is wrong.
The photo below was taken by contributor to this site, after the ceremony where the grave marker was installed. I don't have her name but if she sees this, please email me so I can give you credit.