Omaha Public Radio News
8:51 am
Fri April 23, 2010

Lecture focuses on Omaha's 1919 race riot

Omaha, NE – A lecture this week at the University of Nebraska-Omaha looked at the causes of Omaha's deadly 1919 race riot.

UNO Professor Emeritus Orville Menard spoke recently at the UNO Arts and Sciences Speaker Series about the city's race riot of 1919. The race riot resulted in the lynching of Will Brown, a black worker, as well as the death of two white men and the attempted hanging of the mayor. Professor Menard said one of the causes of the riot may well have been a battle for political power.

In the end, Will Brown was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery without a headstone until last summer, when a California man bought one for Brown's burial site. Menard says the man was inspired to do so after watching a documentary about Henry Fonda, and the riot was mentioned because Fonda had watched part of it.

KIOS will air the UNO Arts and Sciences Speaker Series featuring Orville Menard's talk "Omaha's 1919 Race Riot" on Monday, September 27th at Noon.