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Talladega → Courthouse Burnt

A few nights after his verdict, on Friday, March 13, Ware was in his cell when the courthouse caught fire... the courthouse had burned leaving only the brick walls and the gray stoned columns.


from Hugo Black: A Biography by Roger K. Newman (Fordham University Press, 1997) page 118-120

The rituals of rural violence and race relations had long been familiar to Black. He knew Will Smelley, a well-lied white farmer who was kiled in Talladega County near the Clay Countyline, only by reputation. On December 7, 1924, Smelley took a trip to Clay County with his brother-in-law William Farmer, his son-in-law Leland Haynes and Luke Ware, a Negro who was a tenant farmer on Hayne's land. The purpose of the trip was never truly explained, but that all four were drinking heavily was unquestioned. Police officer arrived to find Smelley dead, his body slumped over the steering wheel. Although evidence was at best spotty

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