Willie Lee Davis

Location(s): Summit, Georgia

Decade: 1940s

On July 3, 1943, Willie Davis, 26 years old, was shot and killed by Chief of Police James Mitchell Bohannon at a roadhouse on the outskirts of Summit, Georgia. Summit authorities and the state of Georgia failed to take action against Bohannon. The War Department initiated an investigation and recommended that the Department of Justice look into the case. The FBI investigated and federal civil rights charges were filed on October 9, 1944. According to The Department of Justice, the charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence to proceed with prosecution.

The collection includes: news articles; DOJ file; Davis’s death certificate; Davis’s headstone application; U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards for James Mitchell, Bohannon; Davis’s marriage certificate; Ancestry records, Census records; NAACP file; Marvin Cox Phone Interview Notes, July 16, 2013; and CRRJ student Mia Teitelbaum’s essay, “Willful Intent, The Shooting of Willie Lee Davis, the Screws Ruling, and Legal Strategies of the Department of Justice.” This essay was edited and published in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law. See Mia Teitelbaum, “Willful Intent: U.S. v. Screws and the Legal Strategies of the Department of Justice and NAACP”, 20 U. Pa. J.L. & Soc. Change 185 (2017).

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