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Public Corruption in Chester County, PA

I believe an unlikely mix of alleged drug trafficking related politicos and alleged white nationalist related politicos united to elect the infamous “Bloc of Four” in the abysmal voter turnout election of 2005. During their four year term the drug business was good again and white nationalists used Coatesville as an example on white supremacist websites like “Stormfront”. Strong community organization and support from law enforcement, in particular Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll has begun to turn our community around. The Chester County drug trafficking that I believe centers on Coatesville continues and I believe we still have public officials in place that profit from the drug sales. But the people here are amazing and continue to work against the odds to make Coatesville a good place to live.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Reconciliation and Revitalization Dr. Tonya Thames-Taylor

Tonya Thames-Taylor at the City of Coatesville City Council Meeting, January 10, 2011 
An Informational presentation by Dr. Tonya Thames-Taylor, Associate Professor of History, West Chester University                           

“City Council and also the Coatesville staff, it’s my pleasure, chief and staff, to be talking to you today.  This item is informational:
I am from the grand state of Mississippi and I went a school called University of Mississippi and also known as Old Miss. On the second floor of the Student Union at Old Miss it says “You may graduate from the University of Mississippi but you do not graduate from Old Miss”.
And I say that because in many ways being “GRITS”; “GRITS”, that’s a Girl Raised In The South, one of the things we have is this fostering of where we are, this pride with who we are. And what happens is here in the State of Pennsylvania there is a lot of rich history.
And one of the rich histories that the Pennsylvania Management Council looks at is the Underground Railroad. Well we actually have that treasure here in Coatesville. What do I mean by that…About a year or so ago I was appointed to the (Coatesville) Historical Commission and what Carmen Boyd and I did was we went and we did a tour of Black Coatesville. Black Coatesville involved the area that’s known as the Fifth Ward and then we actually had some people and we concluded the tour at the Zachariah Walker Marker. Now in that we also included Ercildoun which had rich Underground Railroad and abolitionist activity.  We also included a cemetery now that’s been marked for cleanup that’s in East Fallowfield and it’s of the “United States Colored Troop”.
I say all that to say this:
What I would like to do is and this is an informational item, I’m going to gather folks and we’re going to be looking at the Zachariah Walker story and it’s basically a remembrance revitalization plan.
This year will mark the 100th Anniversary of that Death. And what we will start to do as we look at the revitalization of Coatesville is that we have to do two things:
We have incorporate, of course the story of the steel mills, that is part of the story; but we have to look how the steel mills could have polarized Coatesville by way of class.
So it gave employment to a fellow like Zachariah Walker but it also created a class dynamic.
But in doing so what I would like to do in focusing or looking at this Zachariah Walker story, I would like to have two rationales and two objectives:
The first is to re-launch the Historical Commission. I think that would be a great activity and a great program to kind of re-launch the piece.
And then the second one, I started off by saying given in the University of Mississippi you may never graduate from Old Miss and also about being “GRITS-A Girls Raised In the South”. The second thing I would like to do is pick some of these different agendas that you have, the strategic plans that you have, flags and like sorts; is getting rid of the indifference. When people are allowed to incorporate and realize where they come from is very, very important.
I am concluding with this remark:
Booker T. Washington who started the school in Tuskegee Alabama is the author of the book “Up from Slavery”. One of the things that he talked about in his book was that “character, integrity, industry and intelligence really helps a person to basically mark where they are from.
I am a proud Mississippian who is now adopted this state. There is a lot of rich history in Coatesville. Unfortunately it’s just buried.  It would just be great to have this story out and the Zachariah Walker story looking at, again, reconciliation. South Africa has a wonderful reconciliation program.
Reconciliation and Revitalization”

Tonya Thames Taylor.mp3

Jim Pitcherella-The best book that I have read about the lynching of Zachariah Walker is:
No Crooked Death: Coatesville Pennsylvania and the Lynching of Zachariah Walker  Dennis B Downey (Author), Raymond M Hyser (Author)
South Africa Reconciliation: 


  1. A new book I researched and wrote on the Coatesville Lynching will be out in the Spring of 2011 in time for the 100 year anniversery. I have drawn upon grand jury testimony and testimony in the court cases connected with the case, as well as newspaper articles and other media to find facts and information on Zachariah Walker and his victim Edgar Rice. The information presented in the book is documented and gives the reader an indepth chronological time table of the shooting killing Rice, to the final court cases. The criminal background of Walker starting in VA, to his arrests in PA including a previous murder he committed, several attempted murders and attempted murders. Information on his marriage and family are included. The reader will receive ALL of the court documents to read the evidence, or lack of evidence and the testimony of witnesses; Doctors Pratts, Wm. Worth, Vincent Rice, nurses at the hospital, Stanley Howe who was the only police place at the hospital with the prisoner. Details that up until now have remained buried in history will give readers a look at who was in town, what they were doing, and as many details as it was possible to uncover. Pictures of Stanley Howe, the entire police department, Officer Rice are also included alone with Judge Butler, W.W. MacElree, district attory Gawthrop, the governor and others. It will not justify the lynching, however, it will give the reader a chance to see the setting in which the killing of Edgar Rice occured and the mood of the community that saw the killing of Walker. So, another look at the incident has been researched and documented and will be available soon.
    Janet Messner Tallon

  2. My new book is out and now I can give more information on the lynching. I found that Zachariah Walker had been in PA for some years previous to his arrival in the spring of 1911 in Coatesville. He had been arrested for shooting at two elderly black women in Williamsport and several other offenses including assault and shootings. The Coatesville Record in November 1911 ran a piece on his criminal activity including 1902 in Lebanon, PA. At the time of the shooting death of Officer Edgar Rice Walker was on the run from a previous murder he had committed; that was his motive for killing Officer Rice. In his confession he admits to both killings and says that he had decided to kill Rice because if he was arrested on lesser charges the authorities might find out about the previous murder. He also bragged that he was the faster draw and that he killed the policeman easy. The other migrant black steel workers in Coatesville told of his past criminal record in Virginia where he had also served time. After killing the policeman he, within the short time when he was captured the next day, shot at several more people, attempted to kill one or two, robbed two people. The book names names, you will know who drove the wagon with Walker to the hospital, who the other officers were on board, who was on the posse's. It gives particulars that haven't been seen for 100 years. I am a native of Coatesville, born at the Coatesville Hospital on August 13th. I had hoped to put more photos in the book but things don't always work the way we hope they will. It does have a photo of Officer Rice something most people have never even seen.
    Its available on Amazon.com or at https://www.createspace.com/3583642 right now.


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