Omaha Community Remembers the 1919 Lynching of Will Brown

The Omaha community has opportunities to participate in the remembrance of the events that led to the horrific death of William Brown and the immediate aftermath. Additionally, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners and the Omaha City Council each passed a resolution remembering what happened to Mr. Brown, in conjunction with community leaders.

  • Sat 9/28 @ 9:00 AM: Community event Remembering the Lynching of Will Brown. The event will take place in front of the Douglas County Hall of Justice (1701 Farnam Street).

  • Mon 9/30 @ 1:00 PM: Symposium “Omaha, Nebraska, September 28, 1919: What Really Happened?” will be held again on Sept. 30, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers of the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center, 1819 Farnam St.

Douglas County Board of Commissioners and community leaders after a resolution passed 7 to 0, remembering the unlawful lynching of Will Brown.

Douglas County Board of Commissioners and community leaders after a resolution passed 7 to 0, remembering the unlawful lynching of Will Brown.

Friday’s Symposium “Omaha, Nebraska, September 28, 1919: What Really Happened?”

Friday’s Symposium “Omaha, Nebraska, September 28, 1919: What Really Happened?”


As the County Board and City Council put it:

On September 28, 1919, an African American laborer named Mr. William “Will” Brown was lynched by a lawless white mob near the steps of the Douglas County Courthouse at 18th and Harney Streets preceding a day of race rioting that came to be known as the Omaha race riot of 1919. Not content with his death by lynching, members of the riotous mob tied Mr. Brown’s body to the rear of an automobile and dragged him around downtown Omaha ending at the intersection of 17th and Dodge Streets where they burned his corpse on a public pyre. Of the 120 people indicted for their involvement in the riot and murder, most were never prosecuted and all were eventually released after serving no time in prison. Mr. Brown’s body rested in an unmarked grave in the Potter’s Field Cemetery in Omaha until 2009 when a man from Riverside, California, named Chris Herbert paid for a memorial marker engraved with his name, date and cause of death and the words “Lest We Forget.”

Luis Jimenez