Skip to main content

Brown, Will



Will Brown was an African American man in Omaha, Nebraska. He had been accused of raping a white woman, though it was unlikely that he would have been physically capable of committing the crime due to chronic rheumatism. He was taken from the Douglas County Courthouse and brutally lynched on September 28, 1919, by white rioters during the Omaha race riot. He was buried in an unmarked grave in a potter's field in Omaha's Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Circa 2009, a headstone was installed over Brown's grave, bearing the inscription, "Lest we forget."

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Jacob J. Friedman's "The Courthouse Riot"

 Collection — Box: MISC-06, Folder: MSS-0150
Identifier: MSS-0150
Content Description Jacob J. Friedman documented his eyewitness account of the lynching of Will Brown in the typescript he titled "The Courthouse Riot." Will Brown was murdered on September 28, 1919; it is unclear on what date Friedman completed his recollection. This is a copy of the six-page typescript with a handwritten note from Friedman to a potential newspaper editor directing that his pen name "Joseph Parkwood" be used when the account was published because he still lived in Omaha. He went on to write,...
Dates: circa 1920