Feb. 16, 2021

Who Pays For Claude Neal's Atrocious Final Moments America?

On October 19, 1934, Claude Neal, a twenty-three-year-old Black farmhand, was arrested for the murder of Lola Cannady, a young white woman whose body had been discovered just hours before. Five days later, six white men seized Neal from an Alabama jail where he had been moved for safekeeping and returned him to Jackson County, where they killed him in the woods before presenting his corpse to the Cannady family and a gathered mob. The corpse was castrated, the fingers and toes amputated, the skin burned with hot irons; the mob then drove over it with cars, shot it at least eighteen times, and hung it from a tree on the courthouse lawn, where they again shot at it and took pieces of skin as souvenirs. When the sheriff cut the body down and refused to rehang it, an angry mob rioted, burning the homes of Mr. Neal’s family members and threatening Black residents with violence until they fled. The murder and subsequent attacks were widely reported in local and national newspapers, and it is a well-known twentieth century example of an especially gruesome lynching.
Equal Justice Initiative
Chapter 6