Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Thin Black Line

Michael Green
MSA SC 3520-13788
Lynched near Upper Marlboro, Prince George's County, Maryland on September 1, 1878


Michael Green, an African-American worker, was lynched by a mob of men wearing masks, who broke into the jail at Upper Marlboro on September 1, 1878. Green was accused of assaulting Alice Sweeny, of Prince George's County.1 The Prince George's County sheriff protected Green in the jail for the week prior to his lynching, as there were many threats from citizens eager to punish Green for his alleged "crime of an unusually aggravated character."2

The mob of men forcefully entered the jail on the evening of September 1, and took Green about a mile outside of Upper Marlboro, to the corner of Queen Anne's Road and Hills Lane where a cherry tree stood. It was reported that Green struggled with the men, and he confessed to the assault of Sweeny. After his alleged confession, the mob swung the rope over one of the overhanging branches, and hanged him until he was dead.3

Michael Green is buried outside the Upper Marlboro jail on the west lawn, next to the body of Joseph Vermillion, also of Upper Marlboro, who was lynched in 1889; and Stephen Williams, who was lynched in 1894.


1. "Lynching at Upper Marlboro." The Kent News, 7 September 1878.

2. "Lynching at Upper Marlboro." The Sun, 3 September 1878.

3. ibid.

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