Greenville in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Greenville County Courthouse / The Willie Earle Lynching Trial
This Beaux Arts building, built in 1916-18, was the fourth Greenville County Courthouse, from 1918 to 1950. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. The largest lynching trial in U.S. history was held here May 12-21, 1947. Willie Earle, a young black man accused of assaulting white cabdriver Thomas W. Brown, had been lynched by a white mob on Bramlett Road in Greenville.
The trial of 31 whites, 28 of them cabdrivers, was rare at the time and drew national attention. Though 26 defendants admitted being part of the mob, all defendants were acquitted by an all-white jury. Rebecca West’s “Opera in Greenville,” published in The New Yorker on June 14, 1947, interpreted the trial and its aftermath. Widespread outrage over the lynching and the verdict spurred new federal civil rights policies.
Erected 2010 by the Willie Earle Commemorative Trail Committee. (Marker Number 23-42.)
Location. 34° 50.939′ N, 82° 24.045′ W. Marker is in Greenville, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker is on West Court St., in the median. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Greenville SC 29601, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other Carolina Supply Company (within shouting distance of this marker); Joel Roberts Poinsett (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Joel Roberts Poinsett (within shouting distance of this marker); Poinsett's Spring (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Vardry McBee (about 300 feet away); South Carolina's First National Bank (about 400 feet away); The Old Record Building (about 400 feet away); Spirit of Freedom (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenville.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 6, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 25, 2011, by David Bullard of Seneca, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,942 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 25, 2011, by David Bullard of Seneca, South Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.