Johnson’s father contacted two of the best Black lawyers in the state – Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins – but they had an uphill battle.
A lynch mob, including law enforcement and jurors from the case, was outside, ropes at the ready to murder Johnson.
“What can two Negro lawyers do that [the white lawyers couldn’t]? Asked the judge they first appealed to. But they worked tirelessly to get justice.
Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Johnson’s case! A stay of execution was ordered. Was justice finally on the horizon?
No. Against the court’s orders, the racist sheriff allowed Johnson to be lynched!
Undeterred, the lawyers continued to seek justice. The sheriff and his deputies were jailed for disobeying the orders of the highest court in the land. But was it too late for justice?
Johnson was murdered, and Parden and Styles had to flee Tennessee because of death threats. But Johnson’s case changed the justice system forever by making it the responsibility of law enforcement to keep a prisoner safe until they had their time in court.
When we fight for justice, it doesn’t just help us – it helps future generations, too!