|4863 South State, Desert Star Playhouse, constructed in 1930.|
This building replaced the one at which this incident occurred.
This is one of the stories documented in the book Blazing Crosses in Zion.
In 1922 the Ku Klux Klan had started to publicly recruit for members in SLC and the surrounding communities. The aura of mystery around the KKK prompted several local incidents that were never tied to official KKK activities.
Jim Bing was an honorably discharged veteran of WWI who had just moved to Murray from the Pacific Coast and started working as a bootblack (shoe shiner) for Joseph Chivrell at his store, Champion Shoe Repair, at 4863 South State Street.
Three Murray men, George B. Studham (1896-1949), J. Eugene Bringhurst (1901-1961), and Amos Jensen (1900-1948), “rigged themselves up in ghostly attire” and burst in upon Mr. Bing while he was sleeping in the rear of the store.
Bing initially fled but was captured, “severely beaten,” and then taken by automobile (probably Studham’s car since he had one and was a chauffeur) to Murray City Cemetery where he was further tormented by being forced to “offer up prayers for his ancestors” while “kneeling upon a grave with his hands clasped around a tombstone.” The men also threated Bing with a coat of tar and feathers if he reported the incident.
The next morning Bing’s face showed signs of a beating and his neck was so swollen that he could not swallow. Two days later, on April 2, Bing disappeared leaving all his belongings in the back of Chivrell’s shop.
On the complaint of Bing’s employer, Joseph Chivrell, the three men were arrested and charged with assault and battery. But without Mr. Bing to testify against them the charges were ultimately dropped.
Sources: Blazing Crosses in Zion by Larry Gerlach p34-35; SL Trib 1922-04-15; SL Telegram 1922-04-14 & 1922-05-02
Note: I looked for Jim Bing in the historic records but could not find any other info on him. Unfortunately I am not convinced the local papers that reported the incident even got his name correct (they misspelled nearly everyone else's involved as well). I could not find a Jim Bing WWI vet that was a Black man that ever left the South. His name could have easily been King or Binge or something else just one letter off. I do hope he made it out if town alive.