On the night of Feb. 15, a Greenville, S.C., taxi driver named Thomas Watson Brown was robbed and then stabbed to death by a passenger. Police thought the passenger was a 24-year-old Negro named Willie Earle. They arrested him and put him in jail at nearby Pickens. In the early morning of Feb. 17, a mob of white men went to Pickens, got Willie Earle out of jail and lynched him (TIME, Feb. 24).

South Carolina's Governor J. Strom Thurmond thundered a demand that the mob be brought to justice. Greenville County deputy sheriffs and...

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