The Civil Writer Magazine

In October of 1942, Ernest Green and Charlie Lang, both 14-year-old African-Americans, were charged with the attempted rape of a white girl. While the two were being held in the Quitman jail, a mob of “irate, unidentified men” forced their way inside.

Some reports state that the group overpowered the guard on duty and took his keys, while others state that the guard simply handed them over. Either way, the mob ended up taking the two young boys. A letter written by the NAACP’s Youth Secretary Madison Jones in November of 1942 stated that the bodies of both boys were extremely mutilated, and because of such, the boys’ families refused to accept the bodies when they were brought to them.

By the time Civil Rights workers began arriving in Mississippi in the 1960s, the bridge’s reputation was well-known, which was due in part to a local worker taking volunteers out to the bridge and telling them of its dark past.