Letter from NAACP to Governor Sholtz on the lynching of Claude Neal in Marianna, 1934

Letter from NAACP to Governor Sholtz on the lynching of Claude Neal in Marianna, 1934


Governor David Sholtz
State Capitol
Tallahassee, Florida.

My dear Governor Sholtz:

I hand you herewith copy of the report of an investigation which was made for this Association by a young southern white man of the kidnaping of Claude Neal from the jail at Brewton, Alabama, on October 26th, and transportation of Neal across the state line into Marianna, Florida where he was lynched. For obvious reasons we are refraining for the time being from making our investigator's name public as to do so would interfere with his usefulness in the South where he is connected with one of the great universities, and might also lead to attempted vengeance on him for exposing these facts.

Our investigator also gives us certain information regarding persons in Marianna who are rumored to have had some connection with the kidnaping and lynching. We recognize, quite frankly, that these are only leads which may or may not prove fruitful. We pass them on to you, however, for whatever value they may have in your efforts to apprehend and punish the kidnapers and lynchers.

The person who gave our investigator the information about Mrs. Cannidy plunging the butcher knife into Neal's heart works at a Shell Oil Company filling station in Marianna and is known by the nickname of "Red". His partner's name is Goff. "Red" said that he was present and was an eye-witness. Our investigator asked several people about this episode and no one of them denied it.

The names of three other persons were secured by our investigator from very reliable sources but our investigator was unable to establish definitely the part which each played. Three persons rumored in Marianna to have had a good deal to do with the affair were given to our investigator as Bowen Griffin, Bruce Carter and "Peg-leg" Brown. Griffin is reputed to be a "big" American Legion man. Carter is reported to come from a good family, and our investigator thinks that his brother is a