Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Racial Shooting in Berea on 1 Sep 1968

On Sunday, September 1, 1968 at around 4:00 p.m., two men, one white and one black, were killed in an interracial shootout on U.S. 25 North at the current location of Pennington Realty. A National States Rights Party rally that afternoon with inflammatory anti-Negro statements provoked the violence. State Police reported that two cars and a van drove up as the rally was ending. Angry words were exchanged. Shortly, thereafter, over 40 shots were fired.

Killed were Lenoa John Boggs, 36, a resident of Jefferson Street, and Elza Rucker, 30, a Lexington resident and Berea native. Rucker was sergeant-at-arms for the white supremecist group. Boggs was a presser at Sav-Way Cleaners on U.S. 25 North. Similar rallys had been held the previous Saturday and on July 20 without incident. Fourteen men were charged with murder in connection with the killings.

In response to the incident, the Berea City Council met the following Tuesday and passed a Resolution which condemned the violence and promised to seek a legal means to prevent future "inflammatory gatherings." The Council also called for creation of a human rights group to work for better race relations.

Six Berea blacks were charged with the murder of Rucker: Douglas Moran, Charles Alfred Rice, Robert James "BooBoo" Herd, Alphonso White, Arthur Boggs, and William F. Bronaugh, alias Freddie Hinton. Eight whites were charged with the murder of Boggs: Peter L. Xavier and Connie Lynch, Savanah, Georgia; Jerrald Dale Pope, Williamstown, Kentucky; R. D. Eldredge, Charles Eldredge, Dallas Hale, and Dudley Hughes, Jr., all of Dayton, Ohio.

Twelve of the fourteen were later charged by the grand jury for riot. The six blacks subsequently plead guildty to unlawful assembly and were sentenced to nine months in jail. Following a two-day trial in March, five members of the National States Rights Party were found guilty of disorderly conduct. All five were fined $500; three received an additional sentence of 30 days in jail. Jerry Pope and Kenneth Hale received only fines; Peter Xavier, Dudley Hughes, and R.D. Eldredge were also sentenced to jail-time.

See Berea Citizen, 5 Sep 1968; 12 Sep 1968; 17 Oct 1968; 31 Oct 1968; 14 Nov 1968; 20 Mar 1969.

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