A "Fiendish Crime" by an "Inhuman Monster": 
Local Media's Role in the Criminalization of Ed Johnson

On March 19, 1906, Ed Johnson was lynched by a mob for an alleged rape crime on the Walnut Street Bridge in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This exhibit explores the role of the local media in criminalizing Ed Johnson and inciting the violence that led to his murder.

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The Ed Johnson Project, a diverse community committee committeed to telling the story of Ed Johnson through a memorial, documentary, and scholarship, promotes racial healing and reconciliation in Chattanooga by creating a permanent memorial which acknowledges the lynching of Ed Johnson, honors the courageous work of the attorneys and others who stood up for equal justice, and recognizes the resulting United States Supreme Court case that established federal oversight of state level civil rights issues then and now.

Sources Consulted

1906a. "A Horrible Crime." The Chattanooga News, January 24, 1906.

1906b. "Dramatic Incidents At Johnson's Trial." The Chattanooga News, February 8, 1906.

1906c. "Forty Guests At The County Jail." The Chattanooga News, February 23, 1906.

1906d. "Johnson Hanged On Bridge With Rope From Trolley Car." The Chattanooga News, March 20, 1906.

1906e. "Johnson Lynching." The Jimpecute, March 24, 1906.

1906f. "Johnson Trial Hinges On Alibi For Defendant." The Chattanooga News, February 7, 1906.

1906g. "Johnson's Trial Is Progressing Rapidly." February 6, 1906.

1906h. "Last Night's Mob." The Chattanooga News, January 26, 1906.

1906i. "Let Peace and Order Prevail." The Chattanooga News, March 21, 1906.

1906j. "Mob At Chattanooga." The Commercial, March 23, 1906.

1906k. "Negro Now In County Jail; Suspect of St. Elmo Crime." The Chattanooga Times, January 25, 1906.

1906l. "Race War Is Feared." The Ocala Evening Star, March 21, 1906.

1906m. "Result of Lynching." The Washburn Leader, March 23, 1906.

1906n. "Rewards For Johnson's Capture; Who Is Entitled To Them?" The Chattanooga News, February 21, 1906.

1906o. "Ten More Days For Johnson." The Chattanooga News, March 12, 1906.

1906p. "The Jury Finds Ed Johnson Guilty; He Will Hang For His Fiendish Crime." The Chattanooga News, February 9, 1906.

1907. "Sheriff Shipp's Trial." The Nashville Globe, February 22, 1907. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86064259/1907-02-22/ed-1/seq-4/.

2000. "Lynching Victim Is Cleared, 100 Years Later." The New York Times, February 27, 2000. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/27/us/lynching-victim-is-cleared-of-rape-100-years-later.html?mcubz=3.

Curriden, Mark, and Leroy Phillips. 2001. Contempt Of Court: The Turn-of-the-century Lynching That Launched 100 Years of Federalism. New York: First Anchor Books.

Webb, Michael D. 1999. "God Bless You All-I am Innocent." Tennessee Historical Quarterly 58 (2):156-179.

Credit

This exhibit was developed by Randall Shular, an intern in Special Collections from the Department of History.