Emma Williams Murders Eleanor Richardson, Mobile, AL, February 24, 1892
An Original OutHistory Publication
While the Alice Mitchell case was ongoing, the Southern press printed reports about an African American woman, Emma Williams, murdering another African American woman, Eleanor Richardson, in Mobile, Alabama.
The two women had apparently been living together in an intimate relationship. The reports compared Emma Williams to Alice Mitchell and Eleanor Richardson to Freda Ward.
Lisa Duggan's essay on the Alice Mitchell murder discusses the Williams/Richardson case, and reprints a detailed Memphis newspaper report about it. Based on that report, Duggan points out that Emma Williams is not presented as gender deviant, as was Alice Mitchell, who had planned to dress, pass, and work as a man, and, as a man, to marry Freda Ward.
OutHistory reprints two newspaper reports of the Williams/Richardson case.
The curator of this original OutHistory feature, Jonathan Ned Katz, requests that researchers who discover more information about the Emma Williams/Eleanor Richardson case send full citations and documents to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. All new information will be credited to the researcher and added to the bibliography. Are there trial records and other newspaper reports?
Readers may click on the newspaper reports to see larger versions.
Bibliography on the Williams/Richardson Case
Alexandria, DC: "News of the Day." Alexandria Gazette, February 25, 1892, page ?. Accessed November 18, 2014 from Library of Congress, Chronicling America.
Baltimore, MD: "A Colored Woman's Jealousy. She is Charged with Cutting a Girl of Whom SHe Was Infatuated." Sun (Baltimore, MD, January 25, 1895, Volume CX, Issue 87, page 4. Accessed November 18, 2014 from GeneaologyBank.com.
Charlesteon, SC: "Will She Plead Insanity? A Colored 'Alice Mitchell' Turns Up In Mobile, Alabama," Charleton News and Courier (Charleston, SC), February 25, 1895, page 1. Accessed November 18, 2014 from GeneaologyBank.com. Reprinted on OutHistory.
Cleveland, OH: "Becoming Epidemic. Another Case Similar To The Mitchell Ward Murder." Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), February 25, 1892, page 1. Reprinted on OutHistory.
Denver, CO: "Negro Girl's Jealousy. A Duplicate Instance of the Memphis Mitchell Murder Case." Denver Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), February 25, 1892, page 2. Accessed November 18, 2014 from GeneaologyBank.com.
Memphis, TN: "Instances Multiply." Memphis Commercial (Memphis, TN), February 24, 1895, page 3. Quoted and discussed in Lisa Duggan, “The Trials of Alice Mitchell: Sensationalism, Sexology, and the Lesbian Subject in Turn-of-the-Century America,” Signs, Vol. 18, No. 4, Theorizing Lesbian Experience, Summer 1993, pp. 803-804. Also discussedand reprinted in Lisa Duggan, Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence, and American Modernity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000), pages 139-140.
Omaha, NE: "Just like Alice Mitchell. A Mobile Negress Killed a Girl Whom She Loved." Omaha World Herald, February 28, 1892, Volume XXVI, page 1. Accessed November 18, 2014 from GeneaologyBank.com. Accessed November 18, 2014 from GeneaologyBank.com.
Wilmington, NC: [Headline?] The Wilmington Morning Star, February 25, 1892, page 4. Accessed November 18, 2014 from Newspapers.com