- Category : 1910-births
- Type : GP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (2,29)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Maya 3
American murder victim, killed alongside another young African-American man, J. Thomas Shipp, in a spectacle lynching by a mob of thousands on 7 August 1930 in Marion, Indiana. They were taken from jail cells, beaten, and hanged from a tree in the county courthouse square. They had been arrested that night and charged with robbing and murdering a white factory worker, Claude Deeter, and raping his girlfriend, Mary Ball, who was with him at the time.
A third African-American suspect, 16-year-old James Cameron, had also been arrested and narrowly escaped being killed by the mob; an unknown woman and a local sports hero intervened, and he was returned to jail. Cameron later stated that Shipp and Smith had killed Deeter and that he had run away before Deeter was shot.
The local chapter of the NAACP had tried to evacuate the suspects from town to avoid the mob violence, but were not successful. The NAACP and the State's Attorney General pressed to indict leaders of the lynch mob, but, as was typical in lynchings, no one was ever charged for their deaths, nor for the attack on Cameron.
Cameron was later convicted and sentenced as an accessory to murder before the fact. He served some time in prison, then pursued work and an education. After dedicating his life to civil rights activism, in 1991 Cameron was pardoned by the state of Indiana.
Mary Ball later testified that she had not been raped. According to Cameron's 1982 memoir, the police had originally accused all three men of murder and rape. After the lynchings, and Mary Ball's testimony, the rape charge was dropped against Cameron. He said in interviews that Shipp and Smith had shot and killed Claude Deeter.