On September 14, 1893, a white mob stormed the jail in Carrollton and shot to death Paul Archer, Will Archer, Emma Fair, Ed Guyton, and Paul Hill after they were arrested under accusation of burning down the mill and gin house of a white man. Deep racial hostility during this era regularly led to suspicion of African Americans and black communities after a crime against a white person had been discovered or alleged, whether or not there was any evidence for such suspicion. Accusations lodged by white people against African Americans during this era were rarely subject to serious scrutiny. This case was still under investigation when a large white mob stormed into the jail with guns and killed all five African Americans in their cells.
Hundreds of African Americans in the South were lynched under accusations of crimes not punishable by death if convicted in a court of law. White communities frequently displayed disregard for the legal system where African Americans were concerned, and resorted to lynching to assert racial dominance and control. Nearly all African Americans lynched for criminal accusations were killed without being legally convicted of any offense, and those who lynched them were almost never held accountable. White lives held heightened value in this era, while black lives held little or none, lending justification among whites to a wide array of reasons for lynching black people and ensuring that white mobs could act with impunity.
Paul Archer, Will Archer, Emma Fair, Ed Guyton, and Paul Hill were five of fifteen known victims of racial terror lynching in Pickens County between 1886 and 1917. Another lynching in the town of Carrollton, that of Joe Floyd, occurred just two weeks prior to this lynching.