Francisco Arias, José Chamales, Mexican-Americans, Santa Cruz

The Mexican Americans That Were Lynched Near The San Leandro Bridge In Santa Cruz

In the evening of May 3, 1877 a mob of about 200 people in Santa Cruz forcibly took two Mexican Americans, Francisco Arias and José Chamales, out of their jail cells. Francisco Arias and José Chamales had admitted to committing a murder of a woman they robbed after being investigated on suspicion of the crime. The two men had just been arrested the same week that the mob decided to descend on them, to act out on their version of extra judicial justice, near the San Lorenzo bridge off of Water Street.

The morning after the men were killed by the mob, John Elijah Davis Baldwin, the owner of the Star Gallery on Pacific Avenue, took the photo of the men still hanging with local spectators looking onward. Pieces of the rope were cut to be kept and to be sold as souvenirs for others coming by.

After the lynching, locals retained a sense of pride about the event and sold photos of the lynching at shops on Pacific Avenue. Indeed, those were very different times in Santa Cruz, and was not the only time a lynching of Mexican-Americans had occurred within the county.

Authors Note:

Within the statistics that show the total amount of lynchings that occurred within the United States, it shows that Mexican-Americans were almost targeted as much as African Americans had been by mobs and extra-judicial parties. Many of these lynchings occurred as a result of conflicts between Mexican-Americans and Americans in Texas, Arizona and California decades after the Mexican American war. In fact the Texas Rangers had lynched 16 Mexican Americans at one instance. Such acts, against Mexican-Americans have occurred in other states, that are outside the former boundaries of Mexico, such as Nebraska and Wyoming.

More information regarding this event made be found at Good Times.

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