Lynching Blamed on Labor Defense ; Governor Miller Demands Probe of Heinous Crime ; Labor Defense Blames Alabama Authorities

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: The Baltimore Sun
Place of publication: Baltimore, Maryland
Date of publication: 1933-08-13

Lynching Blamed on Labor Defense

Violence Follows Injection of I. L. D. Lawyers into Alabama Trial

Mob Seizes 3 Negroes

Wrests them from Sheriff and Deputies—Two of them Found Later Shot to Death

(By the Associated Press)

Tuscaloosa, Ala., Aug 13—Three Negroes, who were being removed from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham for safe-keeping pending trial on charges of slaying a 21-year-old white girl, early today were taken from officers by armed men and two of them later were found shot to death near Blocton, twenty-three miles west of Birmingham.

No trace had been found of the third Negro, despite an intensive search throughout the day by peace officers of three counties.

Move to Outwit Mob Fails

The removal followed recurrent rumors here that an attack would be made on the jail last night to take the Negroes—Dan Pippen, Jr., 18; Elmore Clark, 28, and A. T. Harden, 16—who were under indictment for the murder of Miss Vaudine Maddox in rural Tuscaloosa county several weeks ago.

Pippen and Harden were the two found shot to death shortly before noon today. Officers reported that the bodies of the two Negroes bore approximately twenty-five pistol wounds.

Sheriff Blames Labor Defense

Sheriff R. L. Shamblin, in announcing that armed men in two automobiles had overpowered his deputies and seized the Negroes just inside the Jefferson county line, said “we took many precautions to prevent anything of this nature. I believe the interference of the International Labor Defense lawyers in this case is directly responsible for this violence.”

“Injection of the International Labor Defense in the Pippen trial and subsequent declarations of intention to continue in the case had aroused public feeling to an intense pitch,” the sheriff added.

Called Out to Protect Lawyers

When the Pippen case was called for trial here on August 2, National Guardsment were assembled, Judge Henry L. Foster said, “not to protect the Negroes, but to give succor to the attorneys employed by the International Labor Defense.”

Subsequently, after Pippen and his parents had testified they did not wish the International Labor Defense attorneys—Irving Schwab and Allan Taub, of New York, and Frank Irving, of Birmingham—to intercede in the case, Judge Foster ruled the I. L. D. attorneys were without authority, and continued the trial.

Lawyers Given Military Escort  

The three attorneys were given a National Guard escort out of the city. Reports were made to Birmingham police that a mob attempted to molest them at the Tuscaloosa station. These reports subsequently were denied by Major Torrey Jemison, commanding the escort.

Later William L. Patterson, secretary for the International Labor Defense in New York, issued a statement attacking Judge Foster’s conduct in permitting “lynch lawyers” to handle the case, and declared the I. L. D. would continue in the case.

To Order Immediate Probe

Judge Foster today said he greatly deplored violence in the State and that an immediate grand jury investigation would be ordered.

“I did not know the Negroes were going to be transferred to Birmingham Saturday night and did not advise that they be removed,” the jurist said.


Labor Defense Blames Alabama Authorities

New York, Aug. 13—The International Labor Defense announced tonight it had sent the following telegram to Gov. B. M. Miller of Alabama in connection with the lynching of two negroes, Dan Pippen, Jr., and A. T. Harden, and the seizure of a third, Elmore Clark, near Tuscaloosa:

“Hold Judge Foster and Sheriff Shamblin, Tuscaloosa, directly responsible organization lynch mob which murdered Pippen, Harden, and Clark. Demand immediate arrest of them and of all deputies and private persons concerned, and immediate prosecution and enforcement death penalty. Can prove mob incitement by officials.”

The telegram was signed by William L. Patterson, national secretary of the I. L. D.


Governor Miller Demands Probe of “Heinous Crime”

Montgomery, Ala., Aug 13—Describing the mob killing of three Negroes under indictment in Tuscaloosa as a “heinous crime,” Gov. B. M. Miller today sent a telegram to Judge Henry B. Foster at Tuscaloosa ordering an immediate grand jury investigation.

“This crime should be thoroughly investigated by a grand jury of county having jurisdiction, under special charge and instructions from the court and the guilty parties indicted and tried,” the telegram said. “You will appreciate fully its gravity and heinousness and see that the law as to the duty of the Sheriff and the offense of the mob are made known to the grand jury if the offense was committed within jurisdiction of your court.”

Judge reports to Governor

Governor Miller tonight received the following telegraphic message from Judge Foster:

“Best citizens here outraged and distressed account horrible crime. My information from Sheriff’s office is that seizure of prisoners occurred in Jefferson county. Two bodies discovered near Woodstock, in Bibb county. Body of Clark not yet found. I announced immediately this morning a special session of the grand jury will be drawn and summoned tomorrow and impaneled on Tuesday. Grand jury will be fully charged as to duty of Sheriff and offense of mob. We will leave no stone unturned to make investigation thorough and complete.”