Bennie Thompson

Location: Ninety Six, Greenwood County, South Carolina.

Age: 38

Year: 1933

Bennie Thompson, 38, was a farmer who was killed in 1933 by police officers Burley Leppard, Clarence Mayes, Kenneth Morris, Calvin Rush and Howard Webb, in Greenwood County, South Carolina.

Thompson was arrested for allegedly pulling a knife on the men during a fight. Leppard arranged with police chief Rush to snatch Thompson from jail.

Leppard, Morris, Mayes, and Webb beat Thompson to death and left his body hanging off of a highway.

Trial jury acquitted. Indictment against Rush was withdrawn.

A damage suit brought by Thompson’s widow Ada Thompson was dismissed.

For more information, search CRRJ’s archive.

Read more about Thompson’s death on the Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive

About the Archive

The Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive houses case files and documents for more than 1,000 cases of racial homicides in the Jim Crow South. Co-founded by Melissa Nobles, professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Margaret Burnham, CRRJ director and professor of law at Northeastern, these uncovered stories highlight how violence affected lives, defined legal rights and shaped politics between 1930 and 1954.

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