Craven County, NC

Alleged offense: None
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: 21
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): Yes
Legal intervention (following lynching): Yes
Mob size: 5
Mob members: None named
Alleged victim: N/A
Household Status: Unmarried
Occupation: Laborer

Percy Berry, an African American man, was beaten and drowned in Hancock Creek, near New Bern by a group of five white men. Berry had allegedly refused to pay $20 to these men, who demanded he and his fishing mate pay a fee for fishing at night. Perhaps because Berry’s death was listed as an accident on his death certificate, the lynching does not seem to have had much newspaper coverage and was not listed among other 1932 lynchings in publications such as The Crisis.


Death certificate:
Percy Berry Death Certificate
1930 Census Berry
News coverage:
Man Frightened, Drowns in Creek


Town: New Bern, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 34.920782, -76.849531

Rationale: While an exact location could not be determined, Pittsburgh Courier placed Berry’s death at Hancock Creek.

Additional Resources:

Researcher’s Note:
Death certificate lists drowning as an accident, not a homicide, which may explain why there was a lack of newspaper coverage. Death certificate also lists Berry’s name as “Pearsey” but even that name gives scant results in available newspapers.