In 1918 the NAACP hired John Shillady, a social agency administrator, as Secretary (1918–1920). He immediately directed a successful membership drive, and then focused on the anti-lynching campaign. Texas, with 31 branches, was the NAACP’s stronghold in the South. Fearing black reprisals after the Longview race riot of 1919, the Texas attorney general subpoenaed the Austin branch’s records in a move designed to shut down NAACP branches statewide. When Shillady traveled to Austin to meet with state officials he was severely beaten by a mob led by a county judge and constable. The assault left the once robust, cheery Irishman infirm and traumatized. Shillady resigned in 1920 and died shortly thereafter.