Charlie Morris and Sylvester Lewis
In April, 1939, a young African American man was accused of stealing merchandise from a store in Tennessee. Shortly afterward, he was found dead in a nearby river.
That man’s name was Jessie Lee Bond. His death certificate says he drowned accidentally, but his family always maintained that after an argument with white shop owners, he was lynched — shot, castrated, and thrown in a river.
At StoryCorps, Charlie Morris (L), Jessie Lee’s brother, remembers the moment he learned what happened.
No one has ever been charged in Charlie’s brother’s death. But his story inspired a lawmaker in Tennessee to introduce a bill to the legislature that would create a task force to study unsolved civil rights crimes. That bill stalled in the state Senate.