Mark Aubrey has got a series of posts up about Walter Claude “Steel Arm” Dickey (mentioned briefly in this post), a lefthanded pitcher who toiled mostly for southern teams, but appeared briefly with the St. Louis Stars of the Negro National League in 1922, before he was murdered in Etowah, Tennessee, in 1923.
As Mark notes, there are numerous inconsistencies and contradictions in the various accounts of Dickey’s death. Unsuprisingly the two white sources (the Chattanooga and Knoxville newspapers) see Dickey and his “crowd” as the aggressors, with the white killer, Waldo Keyes, acting in self-defense and escaping in an automobile that just happened to be passing by. The two black sources (the Chicago Defender and Cool Papa Bell) say Keyes was the aggressor; the Defender says he arrived with companions in what would be his getaway car. Anyway, you can read Mark’s posts and the articles and come to your own conclusions.
A tangential note: the Chicago Defender article, unlike the Knoxville and Chattanooga papers, is keenly aware of the racial geography of the area. It makes sure to point out first that Dickey was murdered in the “Jim Crow section” of Etowah—that is, the very small black neighborhood—and, crucially, that after the killing Keyes fled to Copperhill, a small town right on the Georgia state line. The Defender article chooses its phrasing carefully, calling Copperhill “a city that is dangerous for any person of color to even pass through in the day time.” “Sundown towns” were southern communities where blacks might work, but could not live, and were expected to clear out by sundown. In other words, the Defender was linking Keyes to a place it considered even worse than a sundown town.