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‘The Kissing Case’ And The Lives It Shattered | NPR

‘The Kissing Case’ And The Lives It Shattered | NPR In 1958, James Hanover Thompson and his friend David Simpson — both African-American, both children — were accused of kissing a girl who was white.

The Kissing Case, African American History, Black History, Dwight Thompson, James Hanover Thompson, Brenda Lee Graham, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, Willoughby Avenue



They were arrested, and taken to jail. Prosecutors sought a stiff penalty — living in reform school until they were 21.

The Kissing Case, African American History, Black History, Dwight Thompson, James Hanover Thompson, Brenda Lee Graham, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, Willoughby Avenue

“The Kissing Case,” as it came to be known, drew international media attention to Monroe, N.C., at the time. But since then, it’s been largely forgotten. Even the Thompson family rarely talked about it. Recently, James Hanover Thompson sat down with his younger brother, Dwight, and told him what happened.

“We were playing with some friends over in the white neighborhood, chasing spiders and wrestling and stuff like that,” James says.

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“One of the little kids suggested that one of the little white girls give us a kiss on the jaw,” he says. “The little girl gave me a peck on the cheek, and then she kissed David on the cheek. So, we didn’t think nothing of it. We were just little kids.”


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