Mary Lizzie Noyes

Background

On May 4, 1947, Albert O. Huey shot and killed twenty-two year-old pregnant mother of three Mary Lizzie Noyes in Camp Hill, Tallapoosa, Alabama. That afternoon, Huey had a dispute with a black veteran, Australia Farrow, over a walking stick. Huey insisted that Farrow give him the cane Farrow used, but Farrow resisted. The confrontation came to a head when Huey and a friend, Charles Chester, cornered Farrow, and Huey drew a knife. Farrow hit Huey on the head with the stick, and fled. Chester chased after Farrow, and Huey went to see Otis Smith, one of Camp Hill’s two police officers. Huey told Smith that he planned to head to Pecan Alley, the black section of Camp Hill that night, to “run all Negroes out of the streets because they had no damn business being there.”

When Huey entered Pecan Alley, a half-hour after sunset, he had a gun, and was accompanied by a group of white men, including several police officers. Huey began to create a disturbance, beating women with his hands and his gun, and chasing them off porches and down the streets. He entered a black café and shot at the owner. Finally, Huey entered the Veterans Café, which had a black section in the back. Huey went into the black section and began to beat up people sitting at the tables, cursing and shouting all the while. Noyes was sitting at a table with two friends, drinking a soda. Because of her physical condition at five months pregnant, she could not move as quickly as the other patrons. When everyone around her began to run from the café, Noyes was at the back of the crowd. She was shot once by Huey, and told her friends to get out of the café and leave her there. Huey kicked Noyes. Then he told her to get up and to run. She began to run, and he shot her a second time. Noyes made it out of the café, down the alley to Main Street, and collapsed onto the porch of a white woman, Mrs. Emory Reeves. Reeves gave Noyes some water, and told her friend to go get her family. When they returned, Noyes had died.

Legal Status

Huey was arrested by the county deputy sheriff from Dadeville, Horace Aiken, at 8:00pm on Sunday night. He was released on a $1,000 bond the following afternoon. Farrow was charged with attempted murder, arrested, and held on a $1,000 bond on Monday afternoon. It is unclear if the white men who accompanied Huey participated in his rampage, or if they simply were a menacing force witnessing the violence. Otis Smith reportedly stated that he did not restrain Huey because his arm was sore.

A hearing was set for both Huey and Farrow for June 2, 1947. Noyes’ father, Tom Truin, authorized the Southern Negro Youth Congress to obtain legal counsel for him, in order to file a suit against Huey. They hired Nesbitt Elmore, of a Montgomery firm, who was determined to partner with a local lawyer, Sims Wilbank, who had been retained by Farrow’s father. It is unclear whether a hearing was ever held. Huey died in May, 1986, at the age of 82.