A mob of thousands of white people laid siege to the Douglas County Courthouse on Sept. 28, 1919. They meant to murder Will Brown, a black man in the courthouse jail who had been accused — wrongly, historians believe — of assaulting a white woman.
The rioting mob of perhaps 15,000 people set the courthouse on fire. They tried to lynch the mayor of Omaha. They somehow got their hands on Brown. They beat him. They hanged him from a telegraph pole outside the burning courthouse. They riddled his body with bullets. After killing him, they dragged his body through the streets, then set it on fire.
This would be a stain on Omaha's history forever.
The following tour will guide you through the past, present, and future of Omaha and its responsibility for the legacy of William Brown.