The following paintings are interpretive of actual unsolved civil rights era murder cases in which no one was ever brought to justice. The paintings are visual aids to the pain and suffering of the victims from these actual murder cases. The paintings were created to raise awareness and to pursue justice for these cold cases all these years later. This is a very important part of American history that is not talked about enough. In order to move forward combatting racism we must bring justice for those whom our justice system failed. Please read each case file before looking at the painting.
The Johnnie Mae Chappell Case
On the evening of March 23, 1964, MRS. JOHNNIE MAE CHAPPELL, mother of ten, had just been grocery shopping for her family at a local store. Upon arriving home, she discovered that her wallet was missing. Accompanied by two neighbors, Mrs. Chappell retraced her steps to a local highway to look for her wallet.
After a flawed investigation by local officials, J.W. Rich (the shooter), Elmer Kato, Wayne Chessman and James Davis were indicted on First Degree Murder charges for the death of Mrs. Chappell. Only J.W. Rich went to trial where he was subsequently convicted on the lesser charge of Manslaughter. The other men walked free, even though one of them had confessed his involvement in the crime to a local detective.
On April 27, 2004, forty years after the crime, Governor Jeb Bush asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to reopen the Johnnie Mae Chappell case in hopes of having first degree murder charges reinstated on the three un-indicted murder suspects. These men are now in their late 60’s and still live in Jacksonville.
On July 25, 1946, four young African Americans -- George & Mae Murray Dorsey and Roger & Dorothy Malcom were shot hundreds of times by 12 to 15 unmasked white men in broad daylight at the Moore's Ford Bridge spanning the Apalachee River, 60 miles east of Atlanta, Georgia. These killings, for which no one was ever prosecuted, enraged President Harry Truman and led to historic changes but were quickly forgotten in Oconee and Walton Counties where they occurred. No one was ever brought to justice for the crime.
On May 7, 1955, The Rev. George Lee, a minister who also ran a local grocery and printing press in Belzoni, was preaching about voting rights in black Baptist churches more than a decade before the height of the civil rights movement. Lee and a friend started a local chapter of the NAACP and convinced nearly 100 black people to register to vote before resistance began turning violent. Lee was driving home one day when he was hit with gunfire from a passing car. Without investigating, the Humphreys County sheriff claimed that Lee's death was a traffic accident. Asked about the lead pellets taken from Lee's face and head, the sheriff replied they were probably dental fillings. The coroner ruled the death resulted from "unknown causes." No one was ever arrested in the case
Willie Edward’s Case