Robert Nixon was an African-American serial killer who confessed to five murders and multiple assaults in Chicago and Los Angeles from 1936 to 1938. He was born on June 16, 1919, in the small town Tallulah, Louisiana. The press gave Nixon the nickname "Brick Moron” after he confessed to the “brick bat murders” (Arney). Edna Worden, her 12-year-old daughter, Rose Valdez, Elizabeth Rice, and Zoe Damrell were a few of his many victims. After Nixon was arrested, he was sentenced to death and electrocuted on June 15, 1939 (Patillo).
In the Lewiston Daily, June Arney wrote that Nixon broke into a woman’s home in Chicago in 1936 and looted her house before beating her to death with his “famous” brick. In 1937, he continued his killings in Los Angeles, claiming three more lives, including a mother and daughter, and left only one surviving victim (Arney). However, in 1938, the police began searching for an African-American man who had been charged for these similar attacks, and Nixon was arrested after returning to Chicago and killing Florence Johnson by striking her with his brick multiple times. Once he and his accomplice were arrested for this crime, Nixon confessed to another brick murder, Florence Castle. The police found evidence of his fingerprints at the crime scene, which left no room for doubt in the involvement of the murder (Schmid).
In the Chicago newspapers, Nixon was consistently portrayed in the most racist terms, such as a "black ape" possessed of "jungle strength and agility." The press reported that the Chicago Police had contacted the sheriff in Nixon's hometown, and the sheriff stated that Nixon had been a thief and that "nothing but death will cure him." In one article, a Chicago Tribune story published a story enti...
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...lty regardless of the circumstances (Wright).
Arney, June. "Linked Brick Killer with Other Slayings." The Lewiston Daily. N.p., 29 Aug.
1997. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.
Leavelle, Charles. "BRICK SLAYER IS LIKENED TO JUNGLE BEAST." Chicago Tribune.
N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.
Pattillo, Mary E. Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. Chicago:
University of Chicago, 2007. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
"Richard Wright’s Native Son." Upress. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
Schmid, David. Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture. Chicago:
University of Chicago, 2005. N. pag. Web. 19 Mar. 2014.
Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. New York: Berkley,
2004. N. pag. Web. 19 Mar. 2014.
Wright, Richard. "HOW "BIGGER" WAS BORN." Anthology of Thirties Prose. N.p., n.d. Web.
20 Mar. 2014.