A (Photo: Ashley Day)

The public is invited to attend a series of lectures beginning this weekend on the legacy and events surrounding a 1906 lynching on the Walnut Street Bridge in Chattanooga.

“The Lynching of Ed Johnson in Chattanooga: A Critical Discussion of the History of Racial Violence in the U.S.” will begin with a Sunday afternoon screening at University of the South’s Gailor Auditorium. The film “Who Was Ed Johnson” will be screened at 4 p.m. Central.

A Monday evening program will take place at UTC’s Derthick Hall Room 101 at 5 p.m. “The Lynching of Ed Johnson in Historical Perspective” will discuss a historical overview of the Ed Johnson story.


The series returns to Sewanee on Tues. evening for “The Legacy of Lynching in American Life” lecture. The free event is at Convocation Hall at 4:30 p.m.

More information and live streams of each lecture can be found here. 

On March 19, 1906, 24-year-old Johnson was murdered by a lynch mob of 1,500 people in Chattanooga. Johnson had been sentenced to death for the rape of Nevada Taylor and had been issued a stay of execution when the mob broke into the jail.

Hamilton County Sheriff Joseph Shipp, six of his deputies and 19 individuals were linked to the mob and officially charged with contempt of court.

Johnson’s last words were “God bless you all; I am a innocent man,” which is the phrase etched on his tombstone at Pleasant Gardens Cemetery.

Almost 100 years after his murder, Judge Douglas A. Meyers cleared Johnson of the crime.

Before Johnson’s death, more than 2,000 men-mostly black-were lynched in America, although no one was prosecuted or investigated for the crimes.