Pvt. Willie Lee Davis

Photo of Pvt. Willie Lee Davis. Courtesy of the Archive.
Photo of Pvt. Willie Lee Davis. Courtesy of the Archive.

Location: Emanuel County, Georgia

Age: 26

Year: 1943

Pvt. Willie Lee Davis, 26, was killed by a police chief while on leave in Emanuel County, Georgia, in 1943.

Police Chief James Mitchell Bohannon was called to a roadhouse to restore order after a fight had broken out.

Bohannon tried to search Davis, who protested, after which Bohannon shot and killed Davis.

Davis was wearing his military uniform at the time of the incident.

The DOJ filed criminal charges against Bohannon but the case was later dropped.

Willie Davis’ mother dedicated years to vindicating her son’s death.

For more information, search CRRJ’s archive.

Read more about Davis’ 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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