1906 Conviction and Death Sentenced Overturned

This is from 2000 but still worth a read:

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – Ninety-four years after a black man accused of raping a white woman was lynched by a mob, a judge overturned the man’s conviction and death sentence Friday.

Ed Johnson was hanged in 1906 from a bridge spanning the Tennessee River by a mob that included Hamilton County Sheriff Joseph Shipp. The mob was angry that the U.S. Supreme Court had agreed to stay Johnson’s execution and to
consider his case.

“God Bless you all. I am an innocent man,” were supposedly Johnson’s last words.

Hamilton County Criminal Judge Doug Meyer overturned Johnson’s conviction at the urging of a defense attorney haunted by the case since discovering it 30 years ago during unrelated court research.

“It really is hard for us in the white community to imagine how badly blacks were treated at that time,” Meyer said as several observers in the crowded, small courtroom murmured in agreement. “It’s still a continuing struggle.”

The victim, Nevada Taylor, was walking home from her job in downtown Chattanooga when she was raped. She testified at Johnson’s trial she thought he was the attacker, but she wasn’t sure.