Monday, July 25, 2016

December 15, 1933: Cord Cheek

Today we learn about a lynching in Tennessee through the pages of The News-Review (Roseburg, Oregon) dated December 16, 1933:


COLUMBIA, Tenn., Dec. 16.—(AP)—A 20-year-old negro a grand jury refused to indict on a charge of attempted attack on an 11-year-old girl was lynched near here last night.

The body of the victim, Cord Cheek, was found suspended from a rope tied to the limb of a tree after Sheriff Claude Godwin said he received an anonymous telephone call advising that he would find a "dead negro at the forks of the road" in the Glendale section nearby.

In response to a request to "come and get him" tha sheriff said he went to the place designated and found the body. Godwin said marks which appeared to have been made by bullets were found on the body and that the negro apparently died shortly before the hanging.

The attempted attack on the girl, an orphan, was alleged to have occurred about a month ago in the section where the negro was lynched. After the grand jury's refusal to indict, Cheek was released.

Officer here said they did not know the negro was in the section until the body was found. He had been released in Nashville where he was taken for safekeeping.

Jailor R. M. McDonald said the girl identified Cheek as the negro who attempted to attack her. He said "feeling ran very high for a time" but seemed to have quieted down.

Sheriff Godwin said he found no one in the vicinity of the lynching and that he had been unable to find anyone who knew anything about it. He said he had tried unsuccessfully to trace the telephone call.

"No one knew anything about it," he said, adding that the lynching "was handled in a very quiet manner."

Our next article is found in the Dunkirk Evening Observer (Dunkirk, N. Y.) dated December 16, 1933:


County Officials Profess to Be Completely Mystified By New Outrage.


But Officers Were Late in Arriving and Brief Coroner's Verdict Without Further Investigation Is Sole Result.

Columbia, Tenn., Dec. 16—(UP)—County officials today professed to be completely mystified as to the size or identity of a mob which lynched a Negro after he had been exonerated by a grand jury on a charge of attacking a white girl.

The body of Cord Cheek, Negro, newest victim in a series of mob outbreaks in various sections of the country, was found hanging from a cedar tree near the city last night. The body was riddled with bullets. Coroner Bert Erwin cut down the body and delivered a coroner's verdict of "murder by parties unknown." No investigation was undertaken immediately.

The mob had long since departed when county officials arrived. They had been summoned by an anonymous telephone call. When the informal execution took place,how many composed the execution party, whether the Negro was hanged and then shot or vice versa, was unknown.

Cheek was arrested Nov. 16 on a charge preferred by 11 year old white girl. A mobi mmediately [sic] formed in front of the Maurie county jail here, while officers spirited Cheek out the back and to the safety of the Nashville jail. The mob did not disperse until it had been permitted to search the prison.

The grand jury convened this week. Neither the girl nor any member of her family appeared to press the charge. The jury returned a no true bill and Cheek was released. He returned to his home here Wednesday.

The body was taken to a mortuary and a large crowd stood in the street outside for several hours. There was no sign of any feeling other than curiosity and the crowd finally dispersed.

Our final article comes to us through the pages of the Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) dated December 17, 1933:

Kidnapers of Man Lynched Are Known

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 16.—(U.P.)—Sheriff L. A. Bauman of Davidson County, said today that warrants were expected to be issued for six men who allegedly were seen kidnaping Cord Cheek, 20, Negro, lynched Friday night near Columbia, Tenn.

Two Negro students at Fisk University told officers that they witnessed the kidnaping of Cheek a half hour after he had been released from jail here. The Negroes said six men in two automobiles were heavily armed. They took the license plate numbers of the automobiles.

Three hours after the automobiles raced out of here with Cheek, officials at Columbia were told that his body could be found hanging to a tree six miles out of the city.

Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder. 

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