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Marking the grim anniversary of Howard Cooper’s lynching in Towson | PHOTOS

Several people assembled Sunday at the Old Towson courthouse to pray and reflect on the 135th anniversary of the lynching of Howard Cooper.

Cooper was just 15 years old when he was convicted of raping Katie Gray in the area once known as Rockland in Baltimore County. Cooper, who was black, was convicted by an all-white jury that deliberated within minutes and without leaving the jury box.

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Cooper was sentenced to death by hanging. But before his attorneys could appeal the conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that Cooper’s 14th Amendment rights had been violated because blacks were effectively barred from serving on juries in Maryland, he was lynched. A mob of about 75 white men hanged him right outside the Towson jail, according to archived copies of The Baltimore Sun from July 13, 1885.

Sunday’s event was organized by the Baltimore County Coalition of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project.

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