Della McDuffie

Location: Wilcox County, Alabama

Age: 67

Year: 1953

Della McDuffie, 67, was a housewife and café owner, who was killed by police in Wilcox County, Alabama, in 1953. Wheelchair-bound and unable to flee, officers beat her to death.

Sheriff Lummie Jenkins and two other officers entered the café, co-owned by Della and her husband, and fired shots. They also beat patrons with blackjacks.

A year later, her husband Will was found dead under suspicious circumstances.

An essay on this case, researched and authored by a CRRJ student, is available here.

For more information, search CRRJ’s archive.

Read more about McDuffie’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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