Susan Smith's mugshot
Dr. David Pilgrim writes: In 1994 Susan Smith, a young mother in Union, South Carolina, claimed that a man had commandeered her car with her two boys -- Alex, 14-month-old, and Michael, 3-year-old. She described the carjacker as a "Black male in his late 20s to early 30s, wearing a plaid shirt, jeans, and a toboggan-type hat." A composite of her description was published in newspapers, nationally and locally. Smith appeared on national television, tearfully begging for her sons to be returned safely. An entire nation wept with her, and the image of the Black brute resurfaced. The Reverend Mark Long, the pastor of the church where Smith's family attended services, said in reference to the Black suspect, "There are some people that would like to see this man's brains bashed in."
Susan Smith's fictitious black brute
After nine days of a gut-wrenching search and strained relations between local Blacks and Whites, there was finally a break in the case: Susan Smith confessed to drowning her own sons. In a two-page handwritten confession she apologized to her sons, but she did not apologize to Blacks, nationally or locally. "It was hard to be Black this week in Union," said Hester Booker, a local Black man. "The Whites acted so different. They wouldn't speak (to Blacks); they'd look at you and then reach over and lock their doors. And all because that lady lied."
The false allegations of Charles Stuart and Susan Smith could have led to racial violence. In 1908, in Springfield, Illinois, Mabel Hallam, a White woman, falsely accused "a Black fiend," George Richardson, of raping her. Her accusations angered local Whites. They formed a mob, killed two Blacks chosen randomly, then burned and pillaged the local Black community. Blacks fled to avoid a mass lynching. Hallam later admitted that she lied about the rape to cover up an extramarital affair.
How many lynchings and race riots have resulted from false accusations of rape and murder leveled against so-called Black brutes? (source: Dr. David Pilgrim, Professor of Sociology, Ferris State University; Nov., 2000)