Watch Live-Stream of Sewanee Project's Series on Lynching, Sept. 14-16

Chattanooga Lynching in 1906 the Focus of Documentary, Lectures by Historian Amy L. Wood

Sewanee's Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation is partnering with the Department of History at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga and the Ed Johnson Project in Chattanooga to host a series of events titled “The Lynching of Ed Johnson in Chattanooga: A Critical Discussion of the History of Racial Violence in the U.S.”

The series, September 16-18, features a documentary screening and two public lectures by Illinois State University’s Amy Wood, award-winning historian and professor of post-Civil War American cultural history and the history of the U.S. South.

In 1906, Ed Johnson, an African American man from Chattanooga, was unjustly convicted of raping a white woman and sentenced to death. When the U.S. Supreme Court intervened with a stay of execution, a mob of whites stormed the jail, took Johnson and hanged him from the Walnut Street Bridge. His last words were, “God bless you all, I am a innocent man.”

“We are very pleased that we have been able to work with our colleagues at UTC and the Ed Johnson team to bring one of the leading scholars of lynching in America to our campuses to help us all better understand the broad ramifications and lasting impact of this horrific crime a century ago,” said Woody Register, Professor of History and director of Sewanee’s Project.

“The mob that lynched Ed Johnson aimed to terrorize African Americans near and far. Those who know Ely Green’s autobiography may recall that Green reports hearing in Sewanee about the lynching and the distress it caused African Americans shortly after it happened.”

The series represents an unusual but important collaboration of three organizations that are investigating the history of race and racial injustice in their respective communities.

Sewanee’s Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation is a six-year endeavor by the university to study and understand its historic entanglements with the institution of slavery and slavery’s legacies in the long century of racial injustice after the end of the Civil War.

“We think this event series can bring different intellectual communities together, share the historical knowledge about the Ed Johnson lynching to a larger audience and inspire awareness about continuing issues surrounding racial injustices in the Chattanooga area,” said Susan Eckelmann Berghel, assistant professor of history and director of Africana studies at UTC.

Professor Wood specializes in post-Civil War American cultural history and the history of the U.S. South. She is the author of Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940 (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), which won the Lillian Smith Book Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in History. She is also the author of numerous essays and articles on the history and memory of lynching.

Taking place on both campuses, the events in the new series are scheduled for Sunday through Tuesday, September 16, 17, and 18.

On Sunday, September 16, a documentary about the lynching and its impact, will be screened at Gailor Auditorium on the University of the South’s campus at 4 p.m. (central time). The documentary is produced by the Ed Johnson Project in Chattanooga, which also is constructing a monument in downtown Chattanooga that preserves public memory of Johnson’s life and murder.

Wood’s first lecture, “The Lynching of Ed Johnson in Historical Perspective,” will be given at UTC’s Derthick Hall (Room 101) on Monday at 4 p.m. (central time) and live-streamed at Sewanee’s Gailor Auditorium.

Wood’s second lecture, “The Legacy of Lynching in American Life,” will be delivered at Convocation Hall at the University of the South at 4:30 p.m. (central time), Tuesday, September 18.

Beginning with this series, the Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation will be live-streaming many of the events it sponsors this year to share its work with the broader Sewanee community.

The events on Sunday, Sept. 16, and Tuesday, Sept. 18, will be live-streamed at this link.

The live-streaming link for Wood's lecture on Monday, Sept. 17, at UTC, can be found at this website.

The series is sponsored by the Project on Slavery, Race, & Reconciliation at the University of the South, the UTC History Department and Africana Studies Program and the Ed Johnson Project. It also is made possible by generous funding from the University of the South’s Lectures Committee.

Sewanee's six-year initiative is investigating the University of the South's historic entanglements with slavery and slavery’s legacies, from its origins in the 1850s and through the long century of Jim Crow racial segregation and injustice after the Civil War.

For more information, contact Dr. Woody Register at wregiste@sewanee.edu.

Project on Slavery, Race and Reconciliation

The University of the South
(931) 598-1934 | slaveryproject@sewanee.edu

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