Colored Man Not Guilty
August 12, 1908
A woman admits to lying about being assaulted by a black man, and confesses that he is not guilty and did not lay a hand on her.
Mrs. Earl Hallam, the Springfield lady who wanted to have her picture printed on postal card and sold in order to make some money, after she claimed she had been assaulted in her home in that city. August 14, has completely broken down and confessed that George Richardson did not assault her, in an affidavit which she freely and willingly signed the first of the week requesting State’s Attorney Hatch to release him from the Bloomington jail. It is not out of place to state right here that “the blood of the innocent Negroes who met their death at the hand of the mob is splattered all over Mrs. Hallam, and the longest day that she lives she cannot escape from realizing that her foolish or childish tale was the direct cause of so much bloodshed,” and the following is the tale she told, which was printed in large type, with most glaring headlines in setting forth her old tale: She claimed that at or near 11 o’clock P.M. “she was dragged by some Negro from off her bed, out of the house through the back yard to an outhouse where she was assaulted, after which she leaped over a back fence and notified her mother-in-la.” While the so-called assault was going on, “she claims that she never lost consciousness,” and yet notwithstanding the fact that she lived in a double house, no one heard any scuffling or noise, and with these facts before her eyes she had the nerve to relate her tale of assault, and the morning after it was supposed to have been pulled off, she was at the police station looking as bright and fresh as anyone could look. Richardson was one of the colored men arrested charged with committing the crime and brought before her for identification, and she said that more of them was the guilty man. Afterwards she said that she believed that if Richardson would change his clothes she could identify him. He was arrested by the officers on his way home, his clothes were changed and he was again taken before the woman, this time in the county sheriff’s office. She conversed with him and said that if his voice sounded like that am the man who insulted her and said that if his voice sounded like that am the man who insulted her and said that if he was not the man he would have to prove it to her. Furthermore she said that she was not positive about his identification as “all colored men looked alike to her.” Richardson protested his innocence and swore that he was at home with his wife all that night and that he retired about 8:30 P.M. His wife, not knowing his statement, gave exactly the same testimony when asked concerning his whereabouts. Nevertheless he was taken to jail and the report was widely circulated that the woman had positively identified him, and that he had confessed.” ...
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“Colored Man Not Guilty,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed September 29, 2023, https://blackvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/713.