Fayette Timeline 1949

May 23, 1940


Source: Tri-State Defender, April 06, 1959

After a dispute with a white man over a woman, Burton Dodson and his family are surrounded at their home in the early morning hours by sheriff's deputies led by Fayette County Sheriff, W.H. Cocke. Realizing this is a lynch mob, Dodson refuses to surrender, and the deputies begin firing on the home. Dodson returns fire and flees the scene; a bullet grazes his son's head, but his family is otherwise safe. Olin Burrow, a white deputy, however, is shot and killed during the incident. The Black community contends that Burrow was shot by one of the other white men firing upon Dodson's home, making it a case of friendly fire and not the fault of Burton Dodson. Nonetheless, a warrant is issued for Dodson's arrest for the alleged murder of Burrow. Dodson eludes capture and arrest by fleeing Fayette County.

Allen Yancey Talks about the Effect the Burton Dodson Incident Had on Fayette Countians

2002 Documentary Project on Fayette County, TN: Special Collections, University of Memphis Libraries.