Racial Hoaxes

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…

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…