Willie Johnson

Location(s): Brunswick, Georgia

Decade: 1940s

On May 3, 1949, Willie Johnson, a 56-year-old laborer and Baptist church deacon, was shot and killed May 4, 1949, in Brunswick, Glynn County by Police Officers Leonard Clayton Sapp and Woodrow Wilson Woodham in Brunswick, Georgia. The Brunswick NAACP sent a letter to Constance Baker Motley at the NAACP legal office. She sent the details on to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Section requesting an investigation be opened on the matter. A grand jury proceeding failed to indict the officers. The Department of Justice declined to prosecution under a federal civil rights statute.

The collection includes: court records; the NAACP file; news articles; the death certificate; and CRRJ student Jillian Gonzalez’s essay, “The Life and Death of Willie Johnson.”

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