On March 26, 1938, Berry Lawson, a twenty-seven-year-old African American waiter staying at the Mt. Fuji Hotel located on Yesler Way in downtown Seattle, Washington, was reportedly asleep in a chair in the hotel lobby. He was spotted by three Seattle Police Department officers, who approached Lawson to arrest him for loitering. An altercation ensued, and 90 minutes later, Lawson was pronounced dead at City Emergency Hospital with a fractured skull. According to the Seattle Times, the three officers, Patrolmen F.H. Paschal, W.F. Stevenson, and P.L. Whalen, “declared Lawson apparently was under the influence of a stimulant and broke away from them and plunged headlong down a flight of stairs.” Continue reading BERRY LAWSON CASE (1938)


Best known as the inspiration for Toni Morrison’s award winning novel, Beloved, The Margaret Garner Incident of 1856 contains one of the most ground breaking fugitive slavetrials of the pre-Civil War era. Margaret Garner was born into slavery on June 4, 1834 on Maplewood plantation in Boone County, Kentucky. Working as a house slave for much of her life, Garner often traveled with her masters and even accompanied them on … Continue reading MARGARET GARNER INCIDENT (1856)