Peoples Grocery

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The Peoples Grocery was a grocery located in Memphis. Opened in 1885, owners Thomas Moss, Henry Stewart, and Calvin McDowell were friends of Ida Wells.[1] In March 1892 the owners were murdered by a white mob while in police custody.[2]


In 1892, the owners of the store were arrested after it was reported that they started a fight.

Moss, Stewart and McDowell were warned that a white mob was going to kill them[citation needed]. The men fired on nine deputy sheriffs who came to arrest them after which they were arrested and jailed. The next morning a white mob kidnapped the three men out of jail and looted the grocery. Soon after they were put in jail, a mob broke into the prison and took the three men. They took them outside, and were going to kill them. McDowell grabbed a gun, but his fingers were shot and his eyes were gouged. They begged for mercy, but it was no use. They were all shot. Ida B. Wells ( talks about them in one or her articles from the newspaper Free Speech. The three men were later found dead. This lead to a very large uprising in Memphis. It is reported that many blacks (6,000 of the 30,000) left Memphis, fearing for their lives.[2]


  1. ^ Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South 1890-1940, Grace Hale, Vintage Press, page 208
  2. ^ a b TN Encyclopedia: IDA B. WELLS-BARNETT.