On March 31, 1939, farmer Levi “Lee” Locus was shot to death by a policeman in his own bedroom in Oldfields township, Wilson County. Though the outcome of the officer’s trial was predictable, newspapers called for justice, and black folk took some satisfaction in watching Chief T.T. Autry brought to trial.
Burlington Daily Times-News, 7 April 1939.
Pittsburgh Courier, 27 May 1939.
Pittsburgh Courier, 23 December 1939.
In the 1910 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer John Locus, 37; wife Annie, 31; and children Flonnie, 9, Floid, 8, and Levy, 3.
In the 1920 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer John Locus, 43; wife Annie, 39; and children Floid, 17, Levi, 14, and Wiley, 4.
On 23 September 1922, Levi Locus, 21, of Simms, son of John and Annie Locus, married Lilly Jones, 18, of Bailey, daughter of Jesse and Sallie Jones, in Wilson. Witnesses were Eli Barnes, of Simms, and Ernest Batts and Fenley Davis of Bailey.
In the 1930 census of Oldfields, township, Wilson County: farmer Leevie Locus, 23; wife Lillie, 23; and children Lillie M., 7, Leevie Jr., 6, Johnnie B., 5, Freddie L., 3, Annie R., 1, and Queen E., 3 months.
Fills me with sadness and fear for our nation that so little has changed in nearly 100 years. In fact, it seems to me that the Burlington Daily Times-News struck the correct posture, the fair posture, the Right posture in their reporting. As a great man said, only when the power of love exceeds man’s love of power will we know peace – and I would add justice as well.
I, too, was struck by the fact that the Burlington paper displayed more balanced commentary than a great many present-day news outlets editorializing about homicide by police.