Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Thin Black Line

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


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

The masked men forcifully entered the jailhouse in the evening of September 1, and took Green to the corner of Queen Anne's Road and Hills Lane where a cherry tree stood about a mile outside of Upper Marlboro.  It was reported that Green struggled with the men, and he supposedly confessed to the assault of Miss Sweeny. After his 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 jailhouse on the west lawn next to the body of Joe Vermillion, also of Upper Marlboro, who was lynched in 1889 accused of the rape of Mrs. Edgar Nelson.


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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