George Richardson (1908 race riot)

richardsonGeorge Richardson was a black man who was falsely accused of sexually assaulting Mabel Hallam, the white wife of a streetcar conductor, on Aug. 13, 1908. The allegation, reported in sensational fashion by local newspapers, helped instigate the Springfield race riot of Aug. 14-15, 1908.

Hallam later admitted she had concocted the assault, perhaps to disguise the fact that she had been entertaining a white lover. Richardson, a hod carrier, had been arrested solely because he happened to be working nearby.

Richardson, exonerated, remained in Springfield. A 1926 Directory of Springfield’s Colored Citizens listed him as a janitor at Illinois Bell Telephone. He died in 1948, at age 76, at St. John’s Hospital.

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