The Ed Johnson Conversations

Ed Johnson
Credit The Ed Johnson Project

In 1906, Ed Johnson - a young Black man - was falsely accused and wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit here in Chattanooga.

His case reached the United States Supreme Court, which issued a stay of execution.

But a violent mob took the law into its own hands - and lynched him on the Walnut Street Bridge.

From his arrest through his trial to the final moments of his life, Ed Johnson said, again and again:  “I am an innocent man.”

Scenic Roots bring you a series of conversations with members of The Ed Johnson Project about his story from more than a century ago - and the memorial in this century at the south end of the bridge where his life ended.

The Walnut St. Bridge in Chattanooga today.
The Ed Johnson Project

In this conversation, LaFrederick Thirkill and Kevin Bate discuss the violent mob that took Ed Johnson from his cell in the Hamilton County Jail on the night of March 19th, 1906 - and took his life on the Walnut St. Bridge.

A headline in The Chattanooga Daily Times.

In this conversation, the Rev. Paul McDaniel, Eleanor McCallie Cooper and Donivan Brown talk about the members of the St. James Baptist Church who came to the Hamilton County Jail and baptized Ed Johnson in a bathtub filled with water on the last Sunday of his life.

Styles Hutchins, top right; Noah Parden, bottom right; Knoxville Post Office in 1906, at left.
The Ed Johnson Project

In this conversation, Katharine McCallie Gardner and Ardena Garth Hicks follow the case of Ed Johnson through the appeal process, a legal journey that leads to Knoxville - and then Washington, DC.

Ed Johnson
The Ed Johnson Project

In our premiere conversation, Mariann Martin and Judge Neil Thomas take us back to 1906 Chattanooga - and talk about the crime that leads to the arrest of Ed Johnson, his trial and its verdict.