OldSoul : The Spectacle Lynching of Claude Neal


Permanent Black Man
May 16, 2002
Bronzeville USA
Staying Alive
The Spectacle Lynching of Claude Neal
(Where were all the "good white people"?)
On October 26, 1934, a small mob of people arrived in Brewton and while one group distracted the sheriff, others came to the jail where they searched the cells and captured Claude Neal. This capture of Claude Neal was well planned and carried out with the abductors using strategy rather than using the common lynch mob techniques of intimidating the police force. The group then traveled back to Jackson County with Claude Neal and reassured each other that they were doing the morally right thing and that Neal should not be given a trial because he did not deserve one. The group also announced to the public media that they intended to lynch Claude Neal due to their belief that what they were doing was justified. It was stated by those who had abducted Claude Neal that he would be lynched that night between the hours of 8 o'clock P.M. and 9 o'clock P.M. and media across the United States reported in newspapers and radios that Claude Neal was going to be lynched.

Lynching of Claude Neal
A large group formed to witness the Claude Neal lynching on the Cannady family's land and estimates of the crowds size ranged from hundreds to several thousand. The leaders in the group of spectators attempted to calm the group so that they could bring Claude Neal to the property for the lynching but became apprehensive as the group became further impatient and unruly. The leaders who had promised the Cannady family that they could be the first to attack Neal attempted to sneak the family away from the crowd of spectators to the place where Lola Cannady had been murdered so that George Cannady could be the one to kill Neal. The crowd was informed of the Cannady family moving and quickly caught up but when Neal was still not brought out, the group grew further frustrated. It was then determined by the committee of six in charge of Neal's lynching that a riot could break out if Neal was brought in front of the crowd and that he would have to be killed in private by those holding him. The men holding Neal brought him to a spot in the woods near Peri Landing along the Chattahoochee River to lynch him.
Claude Neal was then tortured and subjected to castration, forced autocannibalism of his genitalia, stabbing, burning with hot irons, the removal of his toes and fingers, and hanging before the group killed him, tied his corpse to an automobile and drove to the Cannady property at 1 o'clock A.M. After the body was delivered, George Cannady was upset that he had not been the one to kill Neal and shot the corpse three times in the forehead. The crowd further mutilated the body by kicking it, stabbing it and running over it with cars and even children in the crowd participated by stabbing the body with sharpened sticks. Out of anger towards Claude Neal and black people in general, the crowd then burned the shacks in the area that were owned by blacks.

Marianna Riots
The body of Claude Neal was hung up outside of the town courthouse at 3 o'clock A.M. but was discovered by Sheriff Chambliss at 6 o'clock A.M. and was cut down and buried. A mob formed outside of the courthouse with over two thousand people having arrived by noon but they were too late to see the body of Claude Neal and some purchased pictures of the corpse from photographers for fifty cents each. The mob made demands that the sheriff hang the body of Claude Neal outside the courthouse once again but he refused them and riots began to break out. In the riots that broke out in Marianna, Florida on October 27, 1934, about two hundred black people were physically hurt in some way and some police were also attacked. Some white people took great risks by protecting black people during the riots but this was due in part to them wanting to protect the blacks that worked for them. Eventually, the National Guard arrived and managed to bring an end to the riots.

The rest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Neal

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