"We Charge Genocide"
The 1951 Black Lives Matter Campaign

by Susan Glenn


See map of 152 killings below

More than sixty years ago, the Civil Rights Congress (affiliated with the Communist Party) engaged in a campaign to hold the United States accountable for genocide against African Americans. Below are the 152 incidents that the Civil Rights Congress offered as evidence in support of this claim. These killings of unarmed Black men and women by police and by lynch mobs took place between 1945 and 1951. They are displayed on the interactive map and detailed one by one in a descriptive list below.

 We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of The United States against the Negro People (1951) is as relevant today as it was in its own time. The seventy-eight page petition was delivered to the United Nations in Paris in December 1951. The petition sought to demonstrate that the government of the United States was in violation of the U.N. Genocide Convention. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide had been adopted in 1948 in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

The Genocide Convention defined “genocide” as “acts committed to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, or religious group as such.” These “acts” included “killing members of the group,” “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group,” and “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” In addition to the “attempt to commit genocide,” other punishable offenses defined by the Convention included “conspiracy to commit genocide,” “direct and public incitement to commit genocide,” and “complicity in genocide.”  Another distinctive feature of the Genocide Convention was that it made the crime of genocide a punishable offense under international law whether it was committed “in time of peace or in time of war.”

We Charge Genocide, which was produced by William Patterson and the Civil Rights Congress, charged that under the legal rubric laid out by the United Nations, the United States, which failed to enforce its own Constitution, must be punished under international law for its genocidal acts against African Americans.      

In his Introduction to the petition, Patterson emphasized the relationship between Hitler’s crimes against the Jews and America’s crimes against African Americans. “Out of the inhuman black ghettos of American cities, out of the cotton plantations of the South, comes this record of mass slayings on the basis of race, of lives deliberately warped and distorted by the willful creation of conditions making for premature death, poverty and disease.  It is a record that calls aloud for condemnation, for an end to these terrible injustices that constitute a daily and ever-increasing violation of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

We Charge Genocide documented 152 recent killings, and 344 other crimes of violence against African Americans and other human rights abuses committed in the United States against its own citizens from 1945-1951.  This represented only a small sample, as most crimes against black people went unrecorded.  The evidence presented in the petition had been culled from the black press, including the Pittsburgh Courier, The Black Dispatch, the Amsterdam News, and from reports by the Tuskegee Institute, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Jewish Congress Commission on Social Action, the Urban League, the American Council on Race Relations, the American Civil Liberties Union, the labor press, and hearings by city, state and federal agencies. The petition also emphasized that countless African Americans died each year because they did not have the same quality health care, jobs, education, and housing as whites.  Because of their substandard existence, the petition charged, the average life expectancy of African Americans was cut short by eight years.

Ninety-four individuals signed the petition. William Patterson flew to Paris in 1951 to personally deliver it to members of the United Nations Committee on Human Rights. The petition received favorable publicity overseas but was denounced in the United States and disavowed by other civil rights groups. When he returned to the U.S., Patterson had his passport revoked by the State Department and was banned from further travel abroad. Patterson was a Communist as were many other signatories to the petition and in the fierce Cold War climate of 1951 We Charge Genocide was considered a dangerous document.

Below are details on 152 incidents as recorded in the petition. The information has not been independently verified. The incidents are displayed on the interactive map and below that described in a chronological list.

 

    1945

  • June 6.—Denice Harris, 22-year old war veteran, was shot to death in Atlanta, Georgia, by police and a civilian as he drove a white man to meet a white woman at a rendezvous the pair had made by telephone. The telephone conversation was overheard by the woman's husband. Harris was killed by bullets from a police pistol. He had driven the car at the request of the white man.' The Fulton County coroner’s jury called the killing a “justifiable homicide.”
  • August 15.—LILA Bella Carter, 16 years old, was raped and murdered at Pine Island, South Carolina, under circumstances which pointed suspiciously to a white insurance agent. When the young woman’s father went to authorities to demand an investigation, he was jailed. Miss Carter’s neck and jaw were broken and she had been placed face down in a pool of water in order to give the impression that she had met her death by drowning. No action was taken against the rapist.
  • August 21.—Ervin Jones was fatally wounded in his home in Portland, Oregon, when three police officers came to the house to search the premises. They had no warrant and failed to identify themselves as officers. The Jones family believed them to be burglars. Jones defended his home against their entry. One of the officers went to the rear of the house, entered, and shot Jones in the back with a sawed-off shot gun, killing him. The coroner’s jury exonerated the police and a grand jury subsequently refused to indict them.
  • September 9.—Moses Green, veteran of World War I, was shot to death by two Aiken County law officers near Elenton, South Carolina. The Officers were deputy sheriffs who were identified. Green was returning from town in his truck and as he stepped out into his own yard he was shot without warning.
  • October 10.—Jesse Payne was taken from the jail at Madison, Florida, and shot to death by a lynch mob. Payne had been removed from the lynch- proof state prison and taken to an unguarded one-story shack jail at Madison and left there unguarded. On the date of his arrest, July 4, he was attacked and wounded by a posse. Attorney General J. Tom Watson of Florida recommended the suspension of the sheriff in charge of the jail, stating that the evidence indicated that the jail had not been broken into but that Payne had been delivered up to the lynchers by law officers. Nevertheless, the two Madison County grand juries refused to indict the sheriff and Governor Millard Caldwell refused to suspend him.
  • October 29.—Police emptied their guns into an unidentified Negro man at 8th Avenue and 144th Street, in New York City. Eyewitnesses stated that the man, with his hands raised in surrender after having been pursued by a police patrol car, was alighting from a Buick sedan when he was shot. When a crowd gathered to protest, police reinforcements arrived and clubbed the protesters. Several witnesses went to Harlem Hospital where the man lay bleeding. This and subsequent delegations were unable to find out the man’s name.
  • October 29.—The body of Sam McFadden, veteran, was found floating in the Suwanee River, near Live Oak, Florida. Governor Millard Caldwell’s own investigator and twenty witnesses gave evidence that McFadden had been lynched. Evidence was also given that the Brandford, Fla., police chief, a wealthy turpentine operator reputed to use peon labor, and another man were the lynchers. According to the evidence, McFadden, who had left his home to buy groceries, was put into a car and driven in the direction of the river. His body was discovered by two fishermen, and the date of the lynching was fixed by the authorities as approximately September 21. The Suwanee grand jury refused to indict any of the three. Later, the ex-marshal of Bradford was tried for allegedly subjecting McFadden, who was 60 years old, to a “trial by ordeal” and then forcing him to drown himself. He was charged with arresting McFadden, beating him with a whip and pistol and making him jump in the river. The ex-marshal was convicted, sentenced to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
  • November.—Seventy-year-old Mrs. Nicey Brown of Selma, Alabama, was beaten to death by a drunken policeman who was off duty. He beat her over the head with a bottle. The officer was acquitted in November, 1945, by an all-white jury which deliberated a few minutes. The attorney for the policeman stated at the trial: “If we convict this brave man who is upholding the banner of white supremacy by his actions, then we may as well give all our guns to the n----- s and let them run the black belt.”
  • November.—A new trial which had been ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court freed a Baker County, Ga., sheriff and two former white police officers for the death by beating of Robert Hall in October, 1943. Hall had been arrested at his home near Newton, Georgia, on January 29, 1943. The next day the sheriff and two other whites beat him about the head with a blackjack until he fell unconscious. His death occurred soon afterwards.
  • November 1.—Fourteen-year-old Wilbert Cohen was killed when two bullets from a policeman’s gun were fired at him as he was leaving a friend’s house. No action was taken against the policeman either by the grand jury or by the police department.
  • November 17.—St. Claire Pressley, war veteran, was killed in Johnsonville, South Carolina. As he stepped off the train in Johnsonville on his way to Hemingway, S. C., Pressley was arrested on suspicion of implication in a minor disturbance which had occurred several days before. Pressley offered no resistance to arrest, but as he was being marched down the street, the policeman suddenly pulled the trigger of his gun and killed the Negro veteran.
  • December.—Charges were made that Pvt. Eric L. Bolton of Chicago died en route to France of an inter-cerebral hemorrhage “possibly caused by his head being rammed against a cement wall.” The words are those of Capt. Earl J. Carroll of San Francisco. General Eisenhower ordered an investigation into the death.
  • December.—Phinizee Summerour was shot and killed by a white man on an Atlanta, Georgia, bus, following an argument over smoking. A grand jury in December, 1945, freed the white man.
  • December.—Two persons were killed when a reign of terror swept over the Negro community of Union Springs, Alabama. A third Negro was wounded and a fourth was hounded out of town. The white policeman who was the murderer was known. Edgar Thomas was murdered when the white policeman heard him discuss the Negro question with a friend in Thomas’ own store. Jesse Hightower was also murdered. Ed Day Gary, a veteran, had one eye shot out. Rev. J. L. Pinckney was ordered to leave town because he had been a witness to Thomas’ murder.
  • December 23.—Mr. and Mrs. H. O’Day Short and their two small daughters were burned to death two days before Christmas, 1945, in a fire of incendiary origin set by persons who did not want them to move into a “white neighborhood” in Fontana, California. The family had received threatening notes and the police had told the family they were “out of bounds.” There was no electricity in the Short’s home and neighbors knew that the family was temporarily using lamps. While the Shorts were away, people broke into their home, sprayed the interior with an inflammable chemical, and left. When the. Shorts returned, the father struck a match, and the lamp fuel, believed to be kerosene, exploded. All four were fatally burned.
  • December 26.—Walter Campbell, union organizer of the Food, Tobacco, Agricultural and Allied Workers of America, CIO, was stabbed to death at Little Rock, Arkansas. He was organizing workers, particularly Negroes, against a 12 hour working day and 50c per hour pay. The confessed slayer was set free.

1946

  • February.—Frank Allen, taxi driver, was killed by police of Memphis, Tennessee. A field report of the American Council on Race Relations characterized the killing as “suspicious.” The two white officers said that Allen shot at them. However, another version stated that Allen was unarmed; that the officers dragged Allen from his cab and shot him in a vacant lot.
  • February.—James Mangum, 17 years old, was sentenced to death for alleged “rape.” He charged that his “confession” had been forced from him by brutality. Nevertheless, the U.S. Supreme Court twice denied his appeals, and the state parole board refused to pardon him or commute his sentence.
  • February 5.—A policeman of Freeport, L. I., New York, shot and killed Pfc. Charles Ferguson and his brother, Alfonso Ferguson. A third brother, Seaman Third Class Joseph Ferguson was wounded in the shoulder and thrown into the brig, while a fourth brother, Richard Ferguson was arrested and sentenced to 100 days in jail. The brothers had protested jim crow at a local cafe, where the proprietor had refused them service because they were Negroes. After the killings, Freeport police threw a cordon around the bus terminal and stationed men with tommyguns and tear gas there, saying that they wanted to “prevent a possible uprising of local Negroes.” Investigation proved that none of the brothers was armed, and that they were peaceably on their way from the cafe to the bus station when they were attacked by the policeman. Witnesses, including two white women, made affidavits that the brothers were not disorderly. The killer-policeman was exonerated by the Chief of Police and by the Nassau Grand Jury. An investigation ordered by Governor Dewey after five months of organized protest, whitewashed the police, the grand jury which refused to indict the policeman, and the District Attorney of Nassau County. The investigation also denied the lawyer for the slain brothers’ families the right to cross- examination and the right to put specific questions to witnesses.
  • February 9.—Pvt. Nathaniel Jackson was shot to death by a guard with a tommygun at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Granville, Wisconsin, after a group of prisoners complained that meat had been omitted from their lunch. Two other Negroes not named in newspaper accounts, were injured in the ensuing attack by guards.
  • February 11.—Accused of a robbery and murder that had occurred on February 11, 1946, Edward Patton was sentenced to die by the criminal court of Lauderdale County, Mississippi. Attorneys for Patton showed that his “confession” had been forced from him, he had been grilled for three consecutive days, and had been twice taken to the woods to be shown the scene of the crime. The U.S. Supreme Court set aside the decision but Patton was again convicted at Meridian, Mississippi, in Sept., 1948.
  • February 17.—Timothy Hood, veteran, was shot to death in Bessemer, Alabama, by a police chief. Previously, a street car conductor had fired five shots into Hood’s body because Hood had attempted to pull down a jim crow sign. Hearing that Hood was in a nearby house, wounded, the police chief entered the home and fired into Hood’s brain. The Bessemer coroner called the acts “justifiable homicide.”
  • February 25.—Five hundred National Guardsmen swarmed into the Negro section of Columbia, Tennessee, firing riot guns and other firearms. Police opened up with machine guns on the Negroes barricaded in their homes. Every Negro business establishment in the two black business areas was completely wrecked.The terror against the Negro community (Mink Slide) began officially the day before when Mrs. Gladys Stephenson and her son James, a veteran, had an argument with a radio repair man. The repair man kicked and slapped Mrs. Stephenson and tore the sleeves out of her coat. Her son, James Stephenson, came to her defense and was arrested immediately and beaten by the police. As a lynch mob formed on Court Square, friends spirited James Stephenson and his mother out of the state and the Negro community prepared to defend itself from attack and prevent any lynchings from occurring. A large number of Negroes were arrested and jailed.
  • William Gordon and James Johnson were shot and killed on February 28 by police while they were being held in jail. Napoleon Stewart was also shot and wounded while in jail. The three were shot by five policemen at three-yard range. Gordon and Johnson might have been saved after the shooting had they been taken at once to the City Hospital. But this hospital was for “whites only” and they were driven over rough roads 43 miles to Nashville instead.
  • John Blackwell was nearly killed by police beatings. An all-white Maury County Grand Jury began to hand down indictments against members of the Negro community on March 23. Subsequent legal events took place over a period of many months.The trial itself was characterized by Vincent Sheean, special writer for the New York Herald Tribune, as a “travesty of justice.” It was proved by the defense that the Negroes in the area had good reason to fear a lynching since the area had a record of many. It was further proved by the defense that James Stephenson had been removed from the jail and sent out of the state only a short time before a lynch mob collected at the jail demanding his life; that the mob gathered at Court Square spoke openly of lynch plans. The defense also presented more than 200 witnesses, Negro and white, to prove that Negroes are systematically excluded from the grand and petit juries of that county. The trial judge refused to eliminate prospective jurors who admitted past or present membership of the Klan; those who said they approved of the Klan’s activities, or those who said they would give less credence to a Negro than to a white witness.
  • February 25.—Kenny Long, veteran, was shot to death by a highway patrolman in El Campo, Texas. Together with his brother, Meron Long, also a veteran, and a cousin, Cosby Clay. Kenny Long was at a filling station drinking soda pop. A white lounger began to order Clay about, then called a police car. A deputy sheriff in the car stated: “Don’t you know I hate a goddam n___r?” The three white officers began slapping and punching the three Negroes, and one of them shot Kenny Long dead. Meron Long and Cosby Clay were handcuffed, beaten and arrested.
  • March 12.—James Lewis, 14, and Charles Trudell, 15, condemned to death at Meadville, Mississippi. They were charged with a pistol slaying, and indicted, tried and convicted—all in one day. The case was appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court, which overruled a suggestion of error in the trial. They were refused a pardon by Governor Fielding Wright, and were executed.
  • Spring.—A Veteran’s Justice Committee met April 9, 1946, to press an investigation into the killing of two members of the 1310th Engineer Regiment on May 22, 1945 in Camp Lucky Strike, St. Valerie, France. The two were PFC. Allen Leftridge and T/5 Frank Glenn. They were shot dead while unarmed by two white guards posted at a Red Cross tent with orders to keep Negroes from talking to French girls employed there. Court-martial proceedings had absolved the killers. At a subsequent hearing before the Veteran’s Administration, Alfred A. Duckett, formerly of the 1310th cavalry, testified that there had been prejudice against Negro soldiers at the camp. He also stated that a French civilian employee on the post had told him that the guards had orders to prevent Negro GIs from talking with French women.
  • April.—George Collins, a Negro shore patrolman, was killed early in April, 1946 at the Navy Marine base at McAlester, Oklahoma, by a local police officer. Collins had been stationed at the naval ammunition depot. Negroes in the community stated that Collins’ death was the third such incident since the establishment of the Navy Marine Base a few years previously. They declared that the city police carried on a veritable reign of terror against the Negro shore patrolmen; that on numerous occasions they swooped down on the Negro section, making searches and seizures without warrants.
  • May 1.—At a secret meeting of the Ku Klux Klan’s Klavalier Klub whipping squad held at the klavern No. 1, 198 1/2 Whitehall Street, Atlanta, Georgia, “Chief Ass-Tearer” Cliff Vittur warned the Klavaliers to be more careful, criticizing them for using the cab of a Negro cab driver they had killed a short time before, and for not wiping their fingerprints from the steering wheel. Had he not called a “brother Klansman” on the police force to wipe the wheel, the Klavaliers involved would be in “hot water,” Vittur said. Atlanta newspapers the day following the lynching reported merely that the body of a Negro man had been found on Pryor Road, “apparently the victim of an auto accident.” Inside reports on this Klavalier meeting were turned over to the Georgia Department of Law and the Federal Bureau of Investigation by Stetson Kennedy, of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, but no prosecution was forthcoming.
  • May 18.—William Arthur was killed in Baltimore, Maryland, while allegedly resisting arrest by police officers. The following day, May 19, Wilbur Bundley was killed by an officer. Nine witnesses stated that he was shot in the back while running. A few days later, Isaac Jackson was shot and killed by a policeman. A number of organizations began a protest against consistent police brutality in Baltimore.
  • June.—Elliott Brooks of Gretna, Louisiana, was killed by the Gretna chief of police because he “knew too much” concerning the disappearance of another Negro who was a prisoner, according to affidavits filed with the Gretna branch of the NAACP.
  • July.—Sutter Matthews was killed in Moultrie, Georgia sometime in July, 1946, according to a county coroner’s report made on July 31, 1946. The killers had laid the corpse across the tracks of the Georgia Northern Railroad, but Matthews was already dead, killed with a blunt instrument.
  • July 17.—Pvt. Samuel Hicks was discovered dying of a fractured skull on a road near Geiger Army Field near Spokane, Washington. A white soldier stated that he had seen Hicks slugged by two whites and left on the road. There had been feeling against Negro soldiers at the field for some time. When Hicks’ death was discovered on July 17, 1946, Negroes started a search for the killers. Then a force of white MPs, armed with guns, clubs, and tear gas, invaded the area. One MP carefully aimed and fired at a fleeing Negro soldier. Two tear gas bombs were tossed into the Negro soldiers’ quarters.
  • July 20.—One of the comparatively few Negroes who voted in the 1946 Georgia elections was a veteran, Macio Snipes. Snipes voted in Rupert’s district of Taylor County. On July 20, 1946 he was dragged from his home and killed by four white men. He died of pistol wounds. The killers were freed. The killing of Snipes was one of the first fruits of the election campaign waged by Eugene Talmadge. Talmadge had warned Negroes to keep away from the polls. One of the methods used to intimidate the Negro community was the posting of signs on Negro churches which read: “The first Negro to vote will never vote again.”
  • July 24.—The body of Leon McTatie was found in a Sunflower County bayou near Lexington, Mississippi. The condition of the body showed that McTatie had been lynched. Six white men were charged with whipping him to death for stealing a saddle. They were acquitted by a jury after ten minutes deliberation.
  • July 25.—Mr. and Mrs. Roger Malcolm and Mr. and Mrs. George Dorsey were lynched near Monroe, Georgia. Dorsey was a World War II veteran. A group of 20 to 30 white men beat the two women, then lined the four against trees and shot them dead with a sixty-shot broadside from rifles, pistols and shotguns. Roger Malcolm, a sharecropper, had quarreled with his landlord about the disposition of the crop. Malcolm had also objected to advances made to his wife by a member of the landlord’s family. After the quarrel, a lynch mob gathered on July L4. It dispersed, but gathered again on July 25. Eugene Talmadge, white supremacy candidate for governor of Georgia made an official visit to the landlord’s family. The Federal Government investigated, but took no action against anyone. Walter White, secretary of the NAACP, revealed on August 6, 1946, that Atty. Gen. Tom Clark had the names of six men charged with the lynching in his possession. On October 28, 1946, Clark told the Herald Tribune forum in regard to the Monroe lynchings that “the jurisdiction of the federal government depends upon a thin thread of law. The Federal statutes give me the power to prosecute only when a person has been deprived of a federally secured right. The right of life, liberty and property, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held, is not a federally secured right.” The federal jury reported in December that it was unable to find anyone “guilty of violating the civil rights statute.”
  • July 29.—Harrison Johnson, sharecropper, was shot to death near Eatonton, Georgia. His body was perforated with six revolver bullets and he was beaten with a gun butt. The slaying took place on the highway and the killer was given his freedom at once by the sheriff.
  • August.—James Walker was shot dead by a hail of bullets as he sat on his father’s porch at Elko, South Carolina. The shots were fired by a white filling station owner and his brother who had quarreled with Walker.
  • August 3.—John J. Gilbert, chalk mill worker, was found shot to death by the roadside near his home at Gordon, Georgia. Investigation showed that he had been active in the work of union organization and was killed on his way to work by whites who hated unions.
  • August 3-—Buddy Wolf was murdered by a deputy sheriff in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
  • August 3.—While his mother stood 100 yards away, J. C. Farmer, a veteran, was shot dead near Bailey, North Carolina, by a posse of twenty to twenty- five men who swooped down on him in eight cars. Farmer had been waiting for a bus when he was attacked by a policeman, and a scuffle started. Farmer was lynched one hour later.
  • August 8.—John C. Jones, a veteran, was lynched on August 8, 1946, near Minden, Louisiana, shortly after his release from jail when a charge against him collapsed. On August 15 his lash-welted body was found in a lake two miles from Minden, indicating that floggers had operated on Jones before he was dumped in the lake. The deputy coroner reported “multiple bruises and contusions apparently made by a wide leather belt or a thick strap.” At the same time and in the same place, Albert Harris, Jr., 17 years old, was shot at by the lynchers. He feigned death until they had quit the scene and then he fled the state. Young Harris’ father, Albert Harris, Sr., was beaten by Minden mobsters in an attempt to force him to tell his son’s whereabouts. Investigation showed that when Jones returned from the army, he began suit to recover the rights to oil-producing land owned by his grandfather and leased to an oil syndicate. The land was producing thousands of barrels of oil per month for which Jones’ family received less than $1 monthly. In February 1947, six white men including the Minden chief of police were identified as Jones’ lynchers by Albert Harris, Jr. Two of the six, deputy sheriffs, went on trial in Shreveport before a federal jury. Young Harris told the jury how he saw the lynchers beat and burn Jones with a blow torch. He saw Jones’ wrists chopped off with a cleaver; he saw Jones’ eyes pop out of his head from the white-hot flame of the torch. Young Harris also told how he and Jones had been released from the Minden jail into the arms of a waiting mob. Both Harris, Jr. and Harris, Sr. had to be closely guarded by a number of U.S. marshals during the trip to Shreveport and during the trial, because of KKK violence let loose in the area. All of the accused lynchers were freed.
  • September 27.—Walter Lee Johnson, a veteran, was fatally wounded in Atlanta, Georgia, by a street car motorman. Johnson was standing on an Atlanta street when the street car drew to a stop. Johnson recognized one of the passengers inside and called out to him jokingly. The motorman thought the joke was meant for him, he left the car, stepped to the sidewalk, and shot Johnson dead. The motorman was freed.
  • October.—Berry Branch, elderly Negro citizen of Houston, Texas, was killed by a bus driver.
  • November 1.—Jose Adrano Trujillo Seijas, a veteran, and the adopted son of the brother of President Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, was shot to death by a deputy sheriff in Bunnell, Florida. Young Seijas had protested Jim Crow practices in a local cafe. The deputy sheriff had been called to the cafe by phone. He went up to Seijas who was seated in his own car outside the cafe and shot him through the chest.
  • November 2.—Charles W. Scott died in the prison infirmary in Washington, D. C. Injured in the crash of an allegedly stolen car, Scott was taken to the hospital where he received twenty minutes of treatment. When he appeared in court, the judge ordered that he be returned to the hospital as he was too ill to remain in court. He was brought back to court on that same day, but the judge again ordered him taken away for treatment. He died within twenty-four hours. The National Negro Congress and other organizations demanded a full investigation of why Scott had not been kept in the hospital and whether Scott was beaten in jail after a policeman involved in the crash had died.
  • November 15.—A seventy-five-man sheriff’s posse hunted down and killed George Hill, a sharecropper, at Toomsboro, Georgia.
  • December.—William Daniels, a veteran, was shot to death in Westfield, Alabama, a small mining town outside Birmingham. It was near Christmas and Daniels was doing some shopping in the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad commissary store. A white woman employee complained that Daniels had jostled her. In response to her complaint, a guard called Daniels outside the store and shot him dead.
  • December.—Nine white farmers charged with the lynching of James Edward Person in Danville, Illinois, in October, 1942, entered a plea of nolo contendere and were ordered to pay a fine of $200 each and court costs.

1947

  • February 17.—Willie Earle was removed from the county jail at Pickens, South Carolina, by an armed mob and lynched between Pickens and Greenville, South Carolina. Earle was being held in jail on a charge of robbing and wounding a Greenville cab driver. The mob had received Earle from the hands of the jailer and when the lynching was over, they dumped his knife-ripped, shot-sieved body near a rural slaughterhouse. The head was gaping with shot gun wounds on both sides and the torso had been mutilated by knives. A telephone call to the Greenville mortuary told where Earle’s remains could be found. Thirty-one white men, twenty-nine of them taxi drivers, were arrested, and full confessions obtained from twenty-six. At the trial in Greenville, most of the members of the lynch party admitted their share in the deed. They said they had gone to Pickens in eight or nine cabs and abducted Earle, that en route to the lynching several of them had beaten Earle in the car. He was then knifed five times and blasted to death with a shotgun. All the mob was freed, although twenty-six signed confessions describing their plan to do the deed and its actual commission.
  • May.Sardis, Georgia. Joe Nathan Roberts, 23-year-old veteran, was shot to death when he failed to say “yes sir” to a white man. A student at Temple University in Philadelphia on the G.I. Bill of Rights, Roberts was visiting relatives. No one was tried for the killing.
  • May.—Henry Gilbert was beaten to death in the county jail near La Grange, Georgia. No one was tried.
  • May 4.—Camp Hill, Alabama. Mrs. May Noyes, 22-year-old pregnant mother of three children was shot to death by Albert Huey. Mrs. Noyes was only one victim of Huey’s one-man reign of terror in the Negro community after he had an argument with a Negro veteran, Australia Farrow. Huey shot up the Negro community, beat and slapped several Negro men and women, and when Mrs. Noyes ran away from him, he shot her in the hip. She slumped to the street and Huey kicked her, shouting “get up.” She got up and as she began to run, Huey shot her again in the back. She crawled on to the porch of a white woman, Mrs. Emory Reeves, and died there. Huey was arrested, but was later released on $1000 bail and no charges were ever placed against him. Instead Farrow was charged with attempted murder and the testimony of Huey was used to jail and frame him.
  • May 5.—The United States Supreme Court denied the appeal of the two Negro children, James Lewis, Jr., 14, and Charles Trudell, 15, of Natchez, Mississippi. The boys had been convicted of killing a white farmer in 1946. They were electrocuted after the denial by the Supreme Court. (See 1946)
  • May 9.—Eighteen-year-old Willie Francis of St. Martinsville, Louisiana, went to the electric chair for the second time. The first attempt at his execution had been on May 3, 1946 but the electric switch had failed to operate. Many organizations tried to save him on the ground that a second attempt at electrocution would be “cruel and inhuman treatment.” No court would grant the plea and Francis died in the chair.
  • May 24.—Ernest Gilbert, 68-year-old farmer, was shot to death at his home in Gretna, Virginia. Three unmasked white men entered Gilbert’s home and demanded the right to look into his safe. When he refused permission, they attacked him. When he defended himself, they riddled him with bullets, killing him with five pistol wounds.
  • May 27.—The body of William Pittman, taxi driver, was found, horribly mutilated on the side of a country road near Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He had been dead for some time. The story was hushed up, but a report was given to officials of the National Negro Congress on May 27, 1947. Pittman was believed to have been the victim of lynchers. His head was bashed in, the legs and arms were severed and the body split open. His taxi was discovered in the nearby woods.
  • June 7.—Willie G. Andrews was shot and killed in Warrenton, North Carolina, by Police Chief Will Carter of Norlina, who claimed Andrews tried to seize his gun.
  • June 30.—Louisiana. Wesley Thomas, 31, Negro woodchopper, was shot in the back and killed by W. D. Thompson, 21-year-old white. Thomas had engaged in an argument that morning with a white farmer for whom he worked and from whom he was asking back pay. A posse was looking for him when Thompson found him and shot him as he was running toward his house. “He tried to run into the house and I let him have it,” Thompson said. He was exonerated on the grounds that there were weapons in the house towards which Thomas was running.
  • July.—Elijah Myles, 21, was shot in the back by Ferdinand J. Mohr, foreman of the Orleans Parish, Louisiana, Agricultural Dump. Dr. George Fasting, pathologist at the Charity Hospital of New Orleans declared the fatal bullet had entered Myles’ back though Mohr claimed the dead man threatened him. In spite of this evidence, a no-true bill was returned in the case.
  • July ii.—Eight Negro prisoners in the Anguilla Stockade, Brunswick, Georgia, were mowed down by pistol and rifle fire. The men were part of a group of twenty-seven that had refused to work in a snake-infested swamp land without boots. Back at the camp Warden W. G. Worthy became enraged with the men, opened fire and was joined in the massacre by four other guards. Two other Negroes were wounded.
  • July 17.—William Brown, 83, was slain by Charles Ventril, game warden of Point Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Brown was hunting at the time, as was his daily custom for many years. Ventril, white game warden, came along and engaged Brown in an argument concerning the contents of his hunting bag, took him to the edge of the woods, and shot him in the back of the head. The warden is alleged to have walked to a nearby white sharecropper and told him, “I just shot a nigger. Let his folks know.” This slaying was uncovered by a white labor union official. According to him the official coroner’s report stated: “The Negro’s gun was cocked; the killing was justifiable because the warden shot in self-defense.”
  • August.—Versie Johnson, 35-year-old saw mill worker of Prentiss, Mississippi, was shot to death by a posse after he had been accused of raping a white woman. Three white law officers were arrested and charged with manslaughter. They were exonerated.
  • August 11.—James Walker, Jr. was shot by a white man, Bill Craig, after an altercation with a group of Craig’s friends. Craig was later exonerated by a Coroner’s jury, which ruled justifiable homicide.
  • October 12.—Beverly Lee, 13-year-old youth, was shot by Policeman Louis Begin of Detroit, Michigan. Mrs. Francis Vonbatten of 1839 Pine testified that she saw the dead youth and another walking down the street, saw the squad car approach. She heard “Stop, you little so-and-so” and then a shot. The officer was subsequently cleared by Coroner Lloyd K. Babcock.
  • November 6,—Roland T. Price, 20-year-old veteran, was shot to death in Rochester, New York, by six patrolmen who fired a total of twenty-five bullets into his body. Price had just come from seeing the “Freedom Train” and was short-changed in the Royal Palm Restaurant. He argued with the bartender who called Policeman William Hamill. Hamill rushed into the restaurant, drew his gun, forced Price into the street, where he and the other officers began shooting. All were cleared.
  • November 15.—Walter Palmer of Edwards, Mississippi, a Negro veteran, was shot dead after being arrested at a party. Palmer was shot in the back and the officer claimed he tried to escape. Case was reported to Atty. Gen. Clark.
  • November 16.—Raymond Couser was walking down Montrose Street in Philadelphia when eye witnesses saw Patrolman Frank Cacurro stalking him with a drawn revolver. Cacurro fired, Couser staggered, wounded. The patrolman fired three more shots and Couser dropped dead. The patrolman claimed he had been dispatched to the Couser home after being notified of a quarrel and that he shot Couser because he thought Couser was armed.
  • November 16.—Charles Fletcher of Philadelphia was slain by Patrolman Manus McGettingan who claimed he shot after receiving a call about a prowler. Fletcher worked at the Exide Battery Co. for ten years and had no police record.
  • November 23.—Charles Smith was slain by Marvin Matthews and Wyatt Adams in Lillington, North Carolina, while they engaged in a reign of terror in the Negro community. At the same time, the terrorists shot Daniel Lee Brasford. They shot from a car and attempted to run other Negroes down. Eugene Williams, William Talton, A. E. Woods, Robert Perry and several other Negroes likewise testified that the terrorists had attacked them previously. A Harnett County jury freed the men after deliberating 27 minutes.
  • December.—Elmore Bolling, 30, was found riddled with shot gun and pistol shots in Lowndesboro, Alabama. Clark Luckie, a white man who claimed the Negro had insulted his wife over the telephone, was arrested for the killing, but was later released.
  • December 17.—Charles Curry, 23, was slain by Nolan O. Ray, Dallas, Texas policeman, during an altercation on a trolley bus. Ray, in civilian clothes at the time, had ordered a Negro who had sat down beside him to move. The Negro passengers became incensed and Ray jumped to his feet, drew his revolver, and ordered all Negroes to “take your hands out of your pockets.” When Curry did not comply fast enough, Ray shot him dead. He claimed he thought he saw Curry drawing a knife from his pocket. There was no weapon found on the dead man, however. According to witnesses, Curry had neither moved nor spoken during the entire incident. Two days after the slaying, Police Chief Carl Hansen dismissed Ray from the force. He was subsequently indicted for murder.

1948

  • January 28.—James Harmon, Camden, New Jersey, 30-year-old construction worker, was arrested and held incommunicado for twenty-five days. He then died under mysterious circumstances at Lakeland General Hospital. Harmon was arrested by Patrolmen William Yeager and Joseph Hooven and booked as drunk and disorderly. But relatives and friends declared Harmon was a teetotaler. When he died his eye was swollen and the cause of death was admitted to be blood poisoning, after officials first claimed he died of heart disease. A severe beating was suspected at the hands of police.
  • February 2.—George Thomas, Negro youth, was shot dead by a Kosciusko, Mississippi policeman who claimed he tried to escape after being arrested. Case was reported to Atty. Gen. Clark.
  • February 27.—Roy Cyril Brooks, member of Local 309, Food, Tobacco and Agricultural Workers, was shot down in cold blood in the crowded bright sunlit public square of Gretna, Louisiana. Brooks’ murderer was a uniformed policeman, Alvin Bladsacker. Brooks had become involved in a minor altercation with the driver of a bus. Bladsacker, a traffic cop in the square, heard the driver’s raised voice, entered the bus, and immediately slugged Brooks across the back of his head. Blood spurted from the base of Brooks’ skull, and Bladsacker then prodded him out of the bus, announcing that he was going to take him to the police station. As they walked down the square, Bladsacker hauled out a .38 revolver and held it against Brooks’ back. Brooks half turned and attempted to tell the policeman that he had done nothing wrong. Bladsacker shot him twice. Brooks fell on his back in the street and forty minutes later he was dead. The original incident with the bus driver had been this: a Negro woman passenger, after paying her nickel fare, discovered she was on the wrong bus and asked for her nickel back. When the driver refused, Brooks gave her a nickel, she left, and Brooks asked to ride on the woman’s already paid fare. It was while the driver was loudly refusing Brooks that Bladsacker heard him. A Committee for Justice in the Brooks case protested and under pressure, Bladsacker was indicted for manslaughter. He was later released and put back on his job.
  • Week of February 28,—James Tolliver, 40, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was beaten to death by Policeman Blaylock. Tolliver was trying to help a drunken woman when Blaylock came up behind him and struck him in the head. He died almost instantly.
  • March 7.—Rayfield Davis, 35, was slain by Horace Miller during a “civil rights squabble.” A Mobile County (Alabama) Grand Jury freed the killer.
  • Week of March 21.—Ellis Hudson of Nacogdoches, Texas, 50, was shot to death by a Texas constable, one Heppenstead. Hudson had come to court to arrange bail for his son, Ellis, Jr., who had been beaten by the same officer when the boy did not address him as “sir.”
  • Week of March 21.—Samuel Bacon, 55, was shot to death in a Fayette, Mississippi jail by Town Marshal S. D. Coleman. Bacon, an employee of the Firestone Rubber Co. of Akron, Ohio, had been arrested and taken from a bus while on his way to Natchez, Miss., to visit relatives.
  • March 27,—Ike Madden, 27, was slain by Birmingham, Alabama police who claimed he was “resisting arrest.”
  • March 29.—John Johnson, 50, was slain by Birmingham, Alabama police who claimed he was “resisting arrest.”
  • Week of April 4.—Otis Newsom, of Wilson, North Carolina, 25-year-old war veteran and father of three children, was shot and killed by N. C. Strickland, gas station operator. Strickland killed Newsom after the Negro demanded that he properly service his car with brake fluid he had just purchased.
  • April 19.—Almas Shaw, of Birmingham, Alabama, was killed during a fight with police. Police claimed he ran and that when they caught him, he hit his head on the base of stone building. Killing was third in three weeks by police, as terrorist group Black Raiders resumed operations.
  • April 27.—Marion Franklin Noble, 19, was slain by Birmingham, Alabama policeman C. L. Borders who claimed the youth attacked him when he was arresting him.
  • April 30.—Eugene Ward, 1910 13th Avenue, Bessemer, Alabama, was shot to death by Patrolmen Lawton Grimes and Sam Montgomery. The cops claimed Ward “resisted arrest and reached for a knife.”
  • May 2.—Hosea Carter, of Sandy Hook, Mississippi, a Negro, was found dead of a shot gun blast in the chest. Deputy Sheriff T. W. White reported that a white man “whose name I don’t remember” killed Carter. White claimed that Carter and his brother Willie and a third Negro, William Harris, tried to enter a home and that a “neighbor” accosted them and shot Carter. “He did what any decent white man would have done,” White said of the unnamed murderer. The other two Negroes were jailed.
  • May 5.—Henry Rogers of Harlem, New York City, was killed by 32nd Precinct Patrolman Thomas Hollinsworth. The policeman was called to settle an argument between Rogers and Clifton Smith, superintendent of a building at 301 West 151st Street. Police claim Rogers attacked Hollinsworth, and he shot in self-defense.
  • May 23.—Augusta, Georgia. Prison guard ordered unidentified Negro prisoner into snake infested ditch. Prisoner refused, was severely beaten and died.
  • June 5.           Ike Crawford, 29-year-old prisoner in the Richmond County, Georgia stockade, died after he was beaten to a pulp by guards David L. Turner, Horace Wihgard, and Alvin Jones. The men were indicted for “prison brutality.” A coroner’s jury, however, reported that Crawford died of a liver disease.
  • June 12.—Jesse Jefferson of Jackson, Georgia, was slain on his farm, after two white men drove up behind his wagon and accused him of not giving them room to pass by.
  • July 12.—James Burts, 23, was slain by policemen R. C. Wooddall and S. C. Kelly in Greenville, South Carolina. Burts was beaten to death with a blackjack and a night stick and died in General Hospital. Dr. J. R. Bryson, Jr. said Burts was “in a pretty bad condition when he arrived.” A General Sessions Court jury freed the policeman in November.
  • July 14.—Willie Milton, of Brooklyn, New York, was shot in the back by Patrolman Kilcommons. Milton, a tenant leader in his community, had an altercation with a local bartender who assaulted him and two friends and abused them with racist epithets. Joe Milton, the dead man’s brother, was beaten by police in the Bedford Ave. station, who tried to make him admit he started a fracas in the bar.
  • August.—Joe W. Perkins, 26, was killed by Birmingham, Alabama police who said he was trying to escape. He was the ninth Negro slain by police in the past four months.
  • August 21.—Herman Burns, Negro war veteran was beaten to death by Los Angeles police outside the La Veda Ballroom. At the same time, his brothers Julius and John were attacked by several police. Mrs. Virginia Burns, the widow of the slain man sued the city for $200,000 naming Mayor Bowron, Police Chief Clement Horrall, and Asst. Chief Joseph Reed as being derelict in their duty for failing to suspend or discharge the killer cops.
  • September 6.—Isaiah Nixon, 28-year-old veteran, was killed in Montgomery County, Ga. in the presence of his wife and children after he had voted in the September 6 primary. A jury freed M. L. Johnson, the killer.
  • September 26.—Hosea W. Allen of Tampa, Florida, was shot to death by Victor Pinella, proprietor of a beer tavern, when Allen asked to be served a bottle of beer. Justice of the Peace Spicola freed Pinella.
  • Week of October 16.—Danny Bryant, 37, of Covington, Louisiana, was shot to death by policeman Kinsie Jenkins after Bryant refused to remove his hat in the presence of whites.
  • November 20.—In Lyons, Georgia, Robert Mallard, riding with his wife and two teen-age relatives was ambushed and slain by a gang of over twenty robed terrorists. Mallard was shot several times before his wife’s eyes. Mrs. Mallard identified two of the killers as Roderick L. Clifton and William L. Howell, farmers. They were later acquitted. (Mrs. Mallard is a signer of this petition.)

1949

  • Posse hunting down suspects in assault case in Groveland, Florida, shot and killed Ernest Thomas in pine woods. Posse was made up of deputies. They claimed Thomas was armed. Several teams of dogs were used to find Thomas.
  • Week of January 2.—Herman Glasper, 30, was shot and killed in Bryan County, Georgia, by State Trooper Corporal Dee E. Watson. Glasper had been arrested on suspicion of being a hog thief. Sheriff E. W. Miles claimed that the shooting was an accident, that Watson shot when he stumbled over some bushes.
  • January 10.—John Ferrell, young Negro father of 25 Mulberry Street, Albany, New York, arrested on a misdemeanor charge, was found dead in the First Police Precinct 10 minutes after being jailed. Police claimed Ferrell hanged himself. Ferrell, father of two children, had been arrested at his home, and police began beating him when they took him away according to his wife, Mrs. Marguerite Ferrell.
  • January 16.—Charles Phifer was shot in the back and killed in the home of his stepmother, Mrs. Anne Phifer, of the Bronx, New York• Patrolman Eugene Stasiuk had been called to settle an argument and claimed Phifer attacked him. He failed to explain how he shot him in the back.
  • February 18.—George Waddell was shot in the back and slain in his home by Brooklyn, New York, policemen who invaded it without warrant, with no charges against him. The police claimed they were looking for a gambling game when they forced their way into Waddell’s home.
  • February 26.—An unidentified Negro prisoner was shot to death by a policeman. The prisoner, who was locked in a room with several officers in Manchester, Georgia, was shot three times in the back.
  • April 2.—Jim Mitchell, 65, and Irv Lee Parker, 18, were lynched near Macon, Georgia, according to the confession made April 2nd by John McKinney, who implicated Louis DuBose. After dragging the Okmulgee River, Mitchell’s body was found with his throat slashed and his stomach ripped open.
  • Week of April 10.—Hayes Kennedy, 45, died in a Birmingham, Alabama hospital after he had been beaten in jail. Police Sheriff Lacey Alexander claimed Kennedy fought with officers in the jail.
  • May 3.—Willie Johnson was shot to death by two Brunswick, Georgia, policemen who claimed that “he was looking suspiciously at a house." Johnson, 58, had been a resident of Brunswick for fourteen years, was a county employee, and a deacon of St. Paul’s Baptist Church. The case was reported to the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department by Mrs. Constance Baker Modey of the NAACP Legal Department.
  • May 30.—Caleb Hill, 28-year-old farm hand of Irwinton, Georgia, was taken from the County jail by an armed mob and several hours later, his body was found hanging near a creek. He had been shot through the heart several times. Hill was in the custody of Sheriff George Hatcher, charged with creating a disturbance and resisting arrest.
  • June 12.—Richard Brown, and his cousin, James Taylor, were shot and killed in Harlem, New York City, by plainclothes no-badge Patrolman Abraham Yudenfreund. No prosecution.
  • July 2.—Malcolm Wright, 45-year-old tenant farmer was slain near Houston, Mississippi, before his wife and four small children. Subsequently three men, James Moore, James Kelum, and Eunice Gore were arrested and indicted in the killing.
  • July 4.—Chrispin Charles, a Navy veteran, was slain in New Orleans, La. by Patrolman E. Landry and E. Sahuc after they had arrested him during a family quarrel. The veteran was slain with six bullets after he protested, “I haven’t done anything.”
  • July 18.—Frank Bates was “found” dead in a New Orleans jail cell. His body was battered, his ribs crushed and broken, his eyes swollen. Bates had been arrested after being picked up in the vicinity of the killing of a Catholic priest. No proof was ever produced that he knew anything of the killing, though a confession was third-degreed out of him. The coroner’s verdict on his death was “malnutrition.”
  • July 29.—Walter Dandridge, 32, was killed by Birmingham, Alabama police. His mother, Mrs. Susie Dandridge, 60, and his brothers John, 44, and James, 26, were wounded.
  • August.—James Scott, 56, of Peoria, Illinois was shot dead by Fred Lang, a bartender in the Century Club. Scott had been assured by the proprietor that he could be served, but the bartender took matters in his own hands. He ordered the Negro not to come into the club again and in the ensuing argument pulled a gun and shot Scott. The killer was sentenced to from six to 14 years.
  • August 10.—-George Westray, 31, was shot and killed in the Lincoln Hospital, Bronx, New York, by Patrolman Daniel McEnery. Westray had been previously beaten unmercifully.
  • August 11.—James Perry, 41-year-old Negro unemployed war veteran, died in Homer G. Phillips Hospital, in St. Louis, Missouri, after being beaten by four police officers. Cause of death was listed as intracranial hemorrhage. Perry had been picked up by the four police on complaint of a park watchman, who tried to evict Perry from a small park in a Negro section, at 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. His companion, a Miss G. Burns, told Civil Rights Congress representatives that police beat Perry about the head. She had been threatened, she said, and was forced to leave the park. The inquest said cause of death was unknown, and evidence presented there proved the police charge of larceny against Perry to be false. (Police claimed he had stolen soda from a soda wagon but the vendor testified it had been stolen by children.)
  • September 1.—A 17-year-old youth, David Hanley, was shot to death in Lexington, Kentucky by Patrolmen William B. Foster and William Lewis. The police claimed he tried to escape them. A Fayette Circuit Court jury found them not guilty of murder.
  • Week of September 8.—Holis Riles, 53, prosperous owner of a 200-acre farm was slain on his land at Bainbridge, Georgia by a group of white men. Riles was slain after he ordered the men from his land when they trespassed to go fishing. Jesse Gordon, a Negro eye-witness said the murderers drove away in two cars. Previously Riles had trouble from white men trespassing on his land. He had been warned to leave the district, but refused. Sheriff A. E. White called the murder premeditated. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation studied the case.
  • October 2.—Linwood Matthews, 19-year-old Negro was stabbed to death by a gang of white mobsters who attacked him and six others of his athletic club as they sought to play football in Carroll Park of Baltimore, Maryland. The youths were attacked and chased from the park. They then went to another section of the park but were attacked again. This time Matthews was slain. The mobsters fled before police arrived.
  • November 4.—Police of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish beat to death 42- year-old Eugene Jones. His wife Martha, 25, told how police, identified as Earl Rolling, Dick Massa, and a third unidentified officer, came to their home in the dead of night and seized Jones. He was beaten before her eyes. Jones was taken away. Then the officers returned and asked Mrs. Jones for more clothes. She ran to the car and saw her husband on the floor covered with blood. The next day she was told he died of “natural causes.”
  • November 12.—Michael Rice, 69-year-old Negro farmer was shot and killed by Leroy Parker and Roy Lawing in Walhalla, South Carolina. The men then robbed Rice of from $400 to $500 and forced a terror-stricken 14- year-old Negro boy, Henry Davis, to remain with the corpse on pain of death. Parker confessed that they shot the farmer when he refused to tell them where his cotton money was.
  • Week of November 19.—Eugene Jones, an ex-Marine, was beaten to death by two Jefferson Parish, Louisiana Deputy Sheriffs in the Gretna jail. Jones’ wife testified that he had been spirited away by four officers, and that when she called the jail a day later, she was told her husband was dead.
  • November 20.—Samuel Lee Williams, 34 (who died Nov. 28), and two other Negroes were shot by a Birmingham, Alabama street car conductor, M. A. Weeks. Williams and the other Negroes argued with Weeks about being ordered to move into the car’s jim crow section, whereupon the conductor pulled his gun and fired. Police refused to arrest or place any charges against the conductor. The wounded Negroes were Amos Crisby, 24, and John Carlington III, 21.
  • December 31.—Samuel Taylor, 38, Baldsville, Virginia farmer was mutilated to death by a group of whites. Frank Clayton, a white farmer was arrested. Local reports charged that all the killers were known and that they included a woman.

1950

  • January 1.—George West was shot and killed by James W. Beaman, a Harlem, New York policeman. Beaman was subsequently discharged by the Police Department for “unsatisfactory conduct.”
  • January 8.—Three Negro children, Ruby Nell Harris, 4, Mary Burnside, 8, and Frankie Thurman, 12, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, were slain by three white men, Leon Turner, Malcolm Whitt and Windol Whitt, who also raped Pauline Thurman, 17, and shot Thomas Harris, father and stepfather of the children. Harris died later of his wounds, on April 12. Turner and Windol Whitt got life, while Malcolm Whitt got 10 years.
  • Mrs. Mattie Debardeleben, of Birmingham, Alabama, refused to sell some chickens to three Federal revenue agents and a deputy sheriff. They beat her and she died “of a heart attack” on way to jail.
  • January 9.—Nathaniel Grace, 28-year-old citizen of Brooklyn, New York, died in the City Hospital of injuries following a forcible arrest by police. Essex County Medical Examiner Martland said that Grace did not suffer any skull fracture or apparent brain injury.
  • February 28.—Fernandina, Florida. Victim and another Negro, James Williams, 18, picked up by Deputy Sheriff Dave Stokes who intended to arrest them for vagrancy. They told him they worked on a nearby farm. While driving around with the prisoners in his car, Stokes stopped at service station to get friend, Reginald Johnson. Stokes claimed that unidentified man grabbed his gun and began shooting, whereupon Johnson killed Negro with shotgun.
  • March 2.—Seventy-six-year-old James Turner, Negro Baptist minister, of Cairo, Georgia, was found slain in his bed and his three young children were also found dead—all their heads smashed in with an axe. His wife said that someone dressed in a white garment that looked like a gown ran after her. She escaped and went to the police.
  • May 8.—Thurmond Towns, 19-year-old garment worker of the Bronx, New York was killed in New York City, by police of the 32nd Precinct. Towns was shot in the St. Nicholas Park after police claimed he ran when they sought to question him about a purse snatched from a woman passerby. Towns, however, was found to have a large sum of money in the bank, and was known as a model citizen and unionist.
  • June 5.—An unidentified Negro man was beaten to death in the Washington, D. C. penitentiary. Attested to by fellow prisoners. No mention of incident in press.
  • June19.—Lorenzo Best, 32, of Anniston, Alabama, was killed with four bullets by Police Sgt. J. D. Thomas. A coroner called it “justifiable homicide.”
  • August.—Leroy Foley died in Breckinridge County Hospital, Hardinsburg, Kentucky, after he and two other Negroes lay on the floor three hours and were refused medical attention for automobile injuries. The other Negroes were Jessie Wallace and John H. Smith. According to Nurse Betty Graves, they were put on the floor “because we don’t have facilities for colored people.” Foley died an hour after his arrival. To get the men out of the hospital a Negro ambulance service was called from a distance of seventy miles, and arrived after three hours. Jesse Lawrence, the driver of the ambulance, charged: “The blood had not even been wiped from their fares. Their shoes had not been removed, and their belts had not been loosened ” The hospital sent the injured men bills for $11.50 and $1.50 for the telephone call to get the ambulance.
  • Week of October 7.—Morris Scott was slain in Linden, Alabama by William R. Welch and George Baker. Welch admitted firing the shotgun blast that killed Scott in his home. County Sheriff T. Wilmer Shields declined to disclose a motive for the killing.
  • October 20.—Samuel Ellis, Navy veteran of Philadelphia was slain by a rookie cop on a subway. Ellies died an hour after being admitted to Hahneman Hospital.
  • October 20.—Harvey Wilson of Vanndale, Arkansas was shot and killed by W. M. Stokes during an argument over the purchase of a small amount of coal oil. Stokes was arrested and charged with first degree murder.
  • November 1.—James R. Clark, 28-year-old former policeman, received ten months in an Opelika, Alabama, Federal Court on the charges of violating the civil rights of a Negro he and another policeman, Doyle Mitchum, had beaten to death while holding him under arrest. Both were acquitted of the murder of Willie B. Carlisle, 19, of Lafayette. They beat him to death with a rubber hose. Mitchum got six months.
  • December.—Sam Jones, 35, San Pedro, California, construction worker and member of AFL Laborers’ Local 802 was beaten to death by Policemen James R. Graham and Richard W. Clare. At the same time, they severely beat Jones’ companion, Nathaniel Ray, 46, shipbuilder and member of CIO Shipyard Workers Local 9. Ray is the father of eight children. The policemen claimed the men drew knives after being arrested for drunkenness.
  • December 7.—John Derrick, veteran just discharged from Fort Dix, N. J., was shot down in Harlem, New York City, at 119th Street and Eighth Avenue, by Patrolmen Louis Palumbo and Basil Minakotis attached to the 28th Precinct. Derrick was slain with his hands in the air. The policemen were subsequently cleared by the New York County Grand Jury.
  • December 8.—Matthew Avery, 24, student at the North Carolina A. and T. College, died after an auto accident and being refused admittance to Duke Hospital at Durham, North Carolina. Duke doctors said there was no space for Avery and he died an hour later, while being transferred to another hospital.
  • December 12.—Robert J. Evans, 86, was shot by Norfolk, Virginia Patrolman E. M. Morgan who claimed the old man pulled a knife on him. Evans was shot when Morgan accosted him during an alleged search for a man involved in a knifing.
  • Week of December 23.—Kelly Gist of Wake County, North Carolina was slain near Raleigh, by a former convict and parolee, N. G. Williams, who shot him point blank in the chest with a 20-gauge shotgun. Williams claimed Gist cursed at him. Williams was arrested and held without bond.
  • December 29.—Fred Prettyman, 28, of Birmingham, Alabama, was slain by police, who claimed he tried to escape. Coroner Joe Hildebrand immediately called it “justifiable homicide.” Prettyman was the fifth Negro slain by police since Feb. 9, L950, and the eleventh slain in the state since January 22.

1951

  • January 13.—Andrew Johnson, 19, was killed by Chicago police in the Central Station. The young worker was arrested and charged with the murder of Coleman Hairston, a barber, during a holdup, but Sonny Porter, a porter in the shop, said Johnson did not look like the holdup man. Porter’s testimony was barred by Coroner A. L. Brodie. Johnson was picked up by Edward Cagney and Joseph Corcoran, policemen, who gave him the third degree in the station. He was dead by 3:30 p.m. after being arrested that morning. He died of internal injuries including a lacerated liver. Police said, “he just keeled over and died.”
  • January 19.—Bobby Lee Joyner, L7-year-old high school student was slain by Police Chief J. A. Wheeler and Policeman W. E. Williford who pumped seven bullets into the youth’s body, claiming he tried to attack them with a knife, in La Grange, North Carolina. The Greensboro Record and the Raleigh News and Observer demanded that the officer be prosecuted. They were cleared by a Grand Jury.
  • February 2 and 5.—The Martinsville Seven Negroes were electrocuted in Richmond, Virginia for a crime they could not have committed, according to the evidence. The alleged crime was rape of a white woman who had since disappeared. They were Clabon Taylor, Frank Hairston, Jr., Joe Henry Hampton, James Hairston, Booker T. Millner, Francis Grayson, J. L. Hairston. (Mrs. Josephine Grayson, widow of the executed Francis Grayson and the mother of five children, is one of the present petitioners.)
  • February 6.—Dr. M. A. Santa Cruz, prominent dentist, was beaten to death in Pulaski, Virginia by two hoodlums when he sought to protect two Negro girls they were molesting. Police arrested Charles Simmons, 20, and E. Buford Owen, 18, and charged them with murder. A taxi driver, Hubert Matthews Costigan, is charged with “aiding and abetting” since he carried them from the scene of the crime. The girls, Evelyn Bland, 17, and Marie French, 14, were accosted by the hoodlums and manhandled. When Dr. Santa Cruz intervened and went to a police call box, the youths attacked him from behind. He later died in an ambulance.
  • February 7.—The bodies of four Negroes slain under mysterious circumstances were found in Edgecomb and Nash Counties, North Carolina. The body of John Melvin, 50, was found on a farm in Edgecomb. William Battle, 29, was found on his door steps. Both were nude and partially burned. The body of G. W. Batchelor, 80, was found in a corn crib. The one-year-old son of Tom George Battle was found dead in bed and Battle himself was shot in the arm.
  • May 8.—The state of Mississippi electrocuted Willie McGee, World War II veteran and father of four children for the framed “rape” charge made against him by a white woman, Mrs. Willametta Hawkins. The cause of freedom for Willie McGee had been taken up around the world during the five years that elapsed between his arrest on November 3, 1945 and his death on May 8, 1951. Because of the protests that continued to mount on behalf of McGee’s innocence and the lynch atmosphere in which he was first tried and convicted, McGee was tried four times. As the evidence revealed, Mrs. Hawkins had forced McGee into a relationship with her, which he later tried to sever. It was in these circumstances that the white woman charged “rape.” It was because the relationship between McGee and the woman had become known that the state of Mississippi ordered his death. The relationship between a Negro man and a white woman “violated” all the white supremacy patterns of oppression against the Negro people in the south. For this McGee was killed. (Mrs. Rosalee McGee, widow of the murdered defendant, and the mother of his four fatherless children, is a signer of this petition.)
  • June 9.—Edward Honeycutt was put to death by the state of Louisiana on a framed “rape” charge. At the time he was charged with rape, Honeycutt was kidnapped from the St. Landry parish prison in Opalousa, La. by a lynch mob. He was dumped on the low level of the Atchafalaya River as three members of the mob started matching coins to see which would shoot him. As they argued, Honeycutt dove into the river. He was dragged out and rearrested. None of the mob was convicted for kidnapping or attempted homicide. During Honeycutt’s trial, guards patrolled the courtroom armed with pistols. Honeycutt said he had never seen the white woman who cried rape until he saw her in court. On May 28, 1950 an all-white jury found him guilty in 24 minutes.