Anniston in Calhoun County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
The Murder of Willie Brewster
July 15, 1965
— Anniston Civil Rights Trail —
Willie Brewster became the target of white extremists after words spoken at a National States Rights Party encouraged them to commit acts of violence against blacks. As Brewster drove home with co-workers from the night shift at Union Foundry, he was shot in the neck.
Upon his death three days later, The Anniston Star published a full-page advertisement offering a $20,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of his killer. It was endorsed by 268 black and white Annistonians.
Hubert Damon Strange was convicted for killing Brewster on December 2, 1965. It was the first instance in Alabama history when a white jury penalized a white person for racial murder.
"We, as a community, are determined that those who advocate and commit secret acts of violence will not control this country. We are determined to fight with the weapons of law to retain the dignity of this community and to punish those who struck down a respectable and industrious citizen."
— The Anniston Star, Sunday, July 18, 1965, Page 5-A
Erected 2016 by City of Anniston Historic
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Anniston Civil Rights Trail, Alabama series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 18, 1965.
Location. 33° 39.511′ N, 85° 49.869′ W. Marker is in Anniston, Alabama, in Calhoun County. Marker is at the intersection of West 11th Street and Gurnee Avenue, on the right when traveling west on West 11th Street. Located on the grounds of the Calhoun County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 25 West 11th Street, Anniston AL 36201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 1030 Gurnee Avenue (within shouting distance of this marker); 1031 Gurnee Avenue (within shouting distance of this marker); Humble Beginnings (within shouting distance of this marker); Surrounding Development (within shouting distance of this marker); Greyhound Bus Station Protest, May 14, 1961 (within shouting distance of this marker); Civic Purpose (within shouting distance of this marker); The Segregationists (within shouting distance of this marker); Prelude / Arrival (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Anniston.
Also see . . . The Anniston Star The Death of Willie Brewster: Guns, bombs and Kenneth Adams.
An editorial in The Star began, “Do we start it now, Anniston? Do we stand back silently and let the whole ugly box of racial violence open up? Do we do nothing and invite into our city the unwanted and unneeded ranks of the contestants who can take over our town and make of it a nationally watched battlefield? Anniston can have it — right now, another Selma, another Bogalusa! Think about it. Think about your children. Think about your personal safety in your own home. Think about the future of your community. Do we start now?”(Submitted on August 6, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 19, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 6, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 2,152 times since then and 590 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week July 17, 2022. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 6, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. 4. submitted on July 16, 2022, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.