Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 17, 2023

US District Court unveils portraits, sets summer program

The Hon. Curtis Collier, senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, provides remarks during the court’s unveiling of the Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins portraits Nov. 1. - Photo by David Laprad | Hamilton County Herald

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee unveiled portraits of Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins during a ceremony at the Joel W. Solomon Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse Nov. 1.

Parden and 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.

Johnson had been wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman in a Hamilton County state court.

Despite the stay of execution, a mob forced its way into the county jail where Johnson was held and hanged him from the Walnut Street Bridge.

“Although Johnson’s lynching was an unimaginable tragedy in Chattanooga’s history, Parden and Hutchins’ courageous defense of Johnson – at great personal cost – merits the public’s honor,” the court says in a news release.

The portraits are displayed outside the third-floor courtroom of the courthouse.

New summer program announced

During the unveiling, the court also announced a two-week summer day camp for local high school students dubbed “The Supreme Court and My Hometown.” The Hometowns program engages high school students in a study of cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Students will learn during the Chattanooga program 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 will also encourage students to interact with their community based on what they have learned throughout their study. At the end of Hometowns, students will create a capstone project on the impact of these cases.

Source: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee