This is the story of 40 year old Frazier Baker, a school teacher that was appointed postmaster of Lake City, SC who was lynched. The federal government appointed Blacks in certain areas of the south as postmasters as part of the reconstruction period. Unfortunately, this did not please the local whites. White folks were so outraged; a white mob attacked Frazier and his wife and kids. On February 22, 1898 Frazier and a daughter was killed. His wife Julia and another child was wounded and barely escaped.
A white South Carolina senator made the statement that the fine white people of Lake City refused to receive their mail from a “nigger.” So, those fine white folks at 1am decided to set the post office on fire that also was where Frazier and wife and children called home. Frazier was unsuccessful when he tried to put out the fire and when they opened the door the white mob fired at them. His wife Julia was holding their 2 year old in her arms when the child was shot and killed. He was so furious that he swung the door open and died from a hail of bullets. The rest of the family took flight and hide in bushes until the fire died down and the gun shots stopped.
Julia and the children who escaped went to a neighbor for help. One daughter had been shot in the arm and Julia was wounded by the same bullet that killed her 2 year old daughter. They went untreated for days. The news of this lynching was received with condemnation. Ida B Wells-Barnett argued that this lynching is a federal matter because Frazier was appointed to postmaster by President McKinley. Federal government investigated and tried those involved but the all-white jury deadlocked and a mistrial was declared and the men were never tried again.
The men who were tried for the lynching and murder of the Bakers is listed below:
Charles D. Joyner
W. A. Webster