The Island Murder 1x57
In September 1931, an explosive incident shook the semblance of tranquility in Hawaii and exposed the racial tensions between the native population and the U.S. military presence. Thalia Fortescue Massie, the young wife of a navy lieutenant, claimed that a group of Hawaiians had raped her. Five young men were arrested. Despite evidence that exonerated the defendants, the jury deadlocked and they were released on bail. Hawaiians were outraged, believing the rape charges a sham. Thalia’s mother, Grace Hubbard Fortescue came under suspicion when one of the defendants was found dead in her car. News of the “honor slaying” unleashed a torrent of racist invective from the mainland in support of Fortescue. Though tried and convicted of manslaughter, Fortesque’s sentence was commuted to an hour. As this AMERICAN EXPERIENCE film shows, the Massie affair inflicted a wound on the psyche of the Hawaiian people that has yet to heal.
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