The Museum of Hoaxes
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Racial Hoaxes
The Tawana Brawley Case, 1987
The case of Tawana Brawley initially appeared to be a shocking, racially motivated crime. The teenager was found lying inside a trash bag with racial insults written on her body. She claimed that a group of white men, including police officers, had raped and beaten her. The black community rallied around her, and the Reverend Al Sharpton appointed himself her spokesman. But the material evidence didn't back up Brawley's claims. Her body displayed no signs of assault. So suspicions mounted that Brawley had made up a wild story in order to avoid punishment at the hand of her stepfather for having run away from home for three days. More…
Black Like Me
John Howard Griffin was a white native Texan novelist and journalist with a strange idea that he couldn't get out of his head. What if a white man became a black man for six weeks and traveled through Deep South states such as Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi? More…
The Miscegenation Hoax, 1863
A pamphlet titled Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races went on sale arguing for the benefits of white and black people having children with each other. By modern standards, the suggestion sounds enlightened, but the pamphlet was actually a hoax designed to insert the inflammatory issue of race into the 1864 presidential election. The hoax fizzled, but the pamphlet did introduce the word 'miscegenation' into the English language. More…
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Eras: 0-1699 1700s 1800-1849 1850-1899 1900-1949 1950-1979 1980s 1990s 2000s
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  • All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.