On the night of October 26, 1934, outside the small town of Greenwood, Florida, Claude Neal was lynched. The twenty-three-year-old African-American farm-wage laborer was accused of the murder of Lola Cannidy, a twenty-year-old white woman Neal had known nearly his entire life. The lynching of Claude Neal sparked a furor among liberal activists around the nation and provided an opportunity for a radical critique of the South. Socialist Howard Kester conducted the most significant contemporary investigation of the lynching. An outspoken opponent of segregation, Kester vigorously supported the economically depressed and exploited throughout the South, from striking coal miners to unionizing sharecroppers. A seminary trained minister from Lynchburg, Virginia, in his early thirties, Kester already had spent more than a decade fighting for social and racial justice as well as economic equality. In October 1934, he was called upon again to use his evangelical devotion, personal courage and southern heritage to analyze the most recent in a remarkable upsurge of southern lynchings in the Depression era.1
"Haven't Quite Shaken the Horror: Howard Kester, the Lynching of Claude Neal, and Social Activism in the South during the 1930s,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 86:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol86/iss1/4