At on the morning of May 1, 1981 he was discovered by a passerby who heard moans.He was removed from the pipe to St. Josephs Hospital by their ambulance crew.
He was operated on for five hours.A colostomy, the creation of an artificial anus, was performed.
It is one year later.The trees are turning green and the nights are warm.The winter chill is finally gone.The barefoot season has returned to the Pennsylvania Dutch country.
And one year later this crime would be gathering dust in the ever growing Lancaster Police file of unsolved crimes except for a Philadelphia editor who recognized the brutal racial assault for what it is.
The Philadelphia Tribune, a twice-weekly newspaper, gave the Lancaster lynching attempt more coverage than all three of the Lancaster Newspapers combined.
In an editorial in their May 19, 1981 issue, the paper stated, The Lancaster lynching attempt has been practically blacked out in the local media.A Lancaster newspaper, in reporting the incident, started out by detailing Hendersons previous arrest and conviction as a blatant attempt to cover up the racial attack on a Black man.
The Lancaster Police have been trying to keep the attack as quiet as possible.
Not only did the police keep it quiet, they barely lifted a detective finger to arrest the three men responsible.
For 21 days following the assault, not a single description of any of the men was released by the police to the newspapers, except that the three are white.A description of the van has never been printed in a Lancaster Newspaper.The police will only reveal that it was a two-toned, dark green van.
Artists sketches of the three men were only produced following pressure from the Philadelphia Tribune, WDAS-FM, a Philadelphia radio station and State Representative David P. Richardson of Philadelphia.They were finally published by the Intell and the New Era 22 days after the assault.
So what were the police doing all this time?They were busy putting out the word that the assault was drug related.They were quick to point out Hendersons long criminal record (although none were drug arrests).The police said there were discrepancies in Hendersons story.
The police said the victim was not cooperating.They implied that he may have known his assailants.
The police sealed off St. Josephs Hospital so that no reporters could get through to Henderson.
LIP has learned that several in-staff meetings were held at the hospital.The staff was told that the matter had to be hushed up for Hendersons own security.Nurses at the hospital were unwilling to discuss the case for fear of being fired.
But one reporter did reach Henderson in the hospital.Karen Warrington, currently News Director for WDAS-FM radio, got lucky.She got someone on the switchboard who wasnt aware of the hush order on Henderson.