Remembering Will Brown

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.

Potter's Field

Beginning in May of 1887, Potter’s Field served as the burial site for the city of Omaha’s poor, prisoners, and unidentified. Burials continued at Potter's Field throughout the first half of the twentieth century, with the final burial taking…

Truth and Reconciliation

Thousands of black people were the victims of lynching and racial violence in the United States between 1877 and 1950. The lynching of African Americans during this era was a form of racial terrorism intended to intimidate black people and enforce…

Great Plains Black History Museum

The Great Plains Black History Museum is the only African American history museum in Nebraska. Its focus is on American History as told through the lens of African Americans, which makes them uniquely qualified to address the community need for…