Tyler Goodwin Bridge
Tyler-Goodwin Bridge, Montgomery County, Alabama, 2008
In January 1957, Willie Edwards, a twenty-five-year-old husband and father of three, was stopped by four Klansmen while at work as a truck driver for Winn-Dixie. The men beat Edwards and then forced him at gunpoint to jump from the Tyler-Goodwin Bridge into the Alabama River. His decomposed body was found three months later. In 1976, Alabama attorney general Bill Baxley attempted to prosecute three of the men known to have been involved in the murder after Raymond Britt, the fourth man, confessed in exchange for immunity. Judge Frank Embry threw out the charges twice, stating that the cause of death was unknown: "Merely forcing a person to jump from a bridge does not naturally and probably lead to the death of such person.”
In 1992, Henry Alexander, who had been named by Britt, was battling lung cancer and confessed his part in the murder to his wife, Diane. Before he died, he said: "I had no business hating blacks. They've never done anything to me. That man, he'll probably open the door for me.” Diane Alexander met with Edwards’s daughter, Melinda O’Neill, in September 1993 to express her sorrow in person. The same year that Edwards was killed, Henry Alexander was also charged for bombing the home of Reverend Ralph Abernathy, a civil rights leader in Montgomery. The charges were dropped.