Chattanooga – The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee unveiled portraits of Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins in a ceremony Wednesday, November 1st at the Joel W. Solomon Federal Building and United States Courthouse.
Officials said, “Mr. Parden and Mr. Hutchins, two African American attorneys from Chattanooga, obtained a stay of execution in 1906 for Ed Johnson, an African American criminal defendant, in the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Johnson had been wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman in a Hamilton County state court.
Charles Atchley, US District Judge opened the ceremony and read the bio of Parden and Hutchins and US District Judge Curtis L. Collier gave a moving overview of the impact both men made on decisions of the Supreme Court. It was the first time in the Supreme Court’s history that it intervened in a city court’s case and gave a stay of execution. Despite the stay of execution, a mob forced its way into the county jail where Mr. Johnson was held, and hanged him from the Walnut Street bridge.
“Although Mr. Johnson’s lynching was an unimaginable tragedy in Chattanooga’s history, Mr. Parden and Mr. Hutchins’ courageous defense of Johnson—at great personal cost—merits the public’s honor.”
The portraits will be displayed prominently just outside the third-floor courtroom of the Joel W. Solomon Federal Building and United States Courthouse.
At the unveiling, the Court, in partnership with the Supreme Court Historical Society also announced The Supreme Court and My Hometown program for Chattanooga, a two-week summer day camp for local high school students.
“The Hometowns program engages high school students in an intensive study of the process and substantive issues of cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in a unique and personalized way,” officials said. “During the Chattanooga program, students will learn about Ed Johnson’s case and United States v. Shipp, the only criminal trial ever conducted by the Supreme Court, which resulted in a finding that the Hamilton County Sheriff and five other individuals were guilty of contempt for not enforcing the Supreme Court’s stay of execution.
“The program also encourages students to interact with their community based on what they have learned throughout their study, and at the end of Hometowns, students will create a capstone project on the impact of these cases.”