Pvt. Booker T. Spicely

Location: Durham County, North Carolina

Age: 34

Year: 1944

Pvt. Booker T. Spicely, 34, was a U.S. Army private on active duty who was killed in Durham County, North Carolina, in 1944.

Herman Lee Council, a bus driver, ordered Spicely to sit in the back of the bus. Spicely initially protested, but eventually moved to the rear of the vehicle.

When Spicely got off the bus, Council shot him, alleging that Spicely had started an argument and advanced on him.

A trial jury acquitted Council. 

For more information, search CRRJ’s archive.

Read more about Spicely’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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