Willie Earle police mug shot. Image from Greenville Police Department.
(? - 1947) Willie Earle was the victim of a brutal murder and the last racial lynching in South Carolina. In 1947, Earle, a black man from Greenville, was arrested and jailed for the robbery and stabbing of a white Greenville taxi driver, Thomas Watson Brown. The next day a mob of thirty-five men abducted Earle from his cell in the Pickens County Jail and drove him to the outskirts of Greenville, where they lynched him. Earle’s body, badly mutilated from stab wounds in the chest and shotgun wounds in the head, was recovered the same day. Thomas Brown, the original stabbing victim, died hours after Earle. Although twenty-six defendants proudly confessed to the murder, an all white jury comprised of an all white male jury, quickly acquitted all thirty-one men.