For African Americans in Coatesville, the town is notorious for the 1911 murder of Zachariah Walker, the last man lynched in Pennsylvania. Walker was under arrest for killing a white steel company guard when he was dragged from a Coatesville hospital and burned alive in a field just south of the city.
According to a story in The Inquirer the next day, 1,600 people watched. Pleading for his life, Walker tried to climb out of the flames, but townspeople pushed him back. Coatesville's police chief and 14 others were charged in the killing, but everyone was acquitted. The chief ran for reelection and won.
Last year, local historians put up a memorial plaque on the lynching site.
Here's The Inquirer's front page story from Aug. 14, 1911, recounting the lynching.
Read The Inquirer's series "Too Tough? Tactics in suburban policing," on nuisance laws in area towns and Coatesville's approach to building a better relationship with its African American citizens.