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StoryCorps Griot: James and Dwight Thompson

From: StoryCorps
Series: StoryCorps
Length: 03:47

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James Hanover Thompson tells his brother Dwight about his involvement in the "Kissing Case" of 1958.

Thompson_small In 1958, two African-American children, James Hanover Thompson and David Simpson, were arrested for allegedly kissing a girl who was white.

Here, James Hanover Thompson and his siblings Dwight and Brenda remember their involvement in the now-infamous "Kissing Case."

Piece Description

In 1958, two African-American children, James Hanover Thompson and David Simpson, were arrested for allegedly kissing a girl who was white.

Here, James Hanover Thompson and his siblings Dwight and Brenda remember their involvement in the now-infamous "Kissing Case."

Broadcast History

NPR's Morning Edition 4/29/11

Transcript

James Hanover Thompson (JHT): We were playing with some friends over in the white neighborhood, chasing spiders and wrestling and stuff like that. One of the little kids suggested that one of the little white girls give us a kiss on the jaw. 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.

Dwight Thompson (DT): How old was you then?

JHT: I was nine years old; David was seven. Really didn't hardly know what a kiss was. And, so, we went on home like nothing happened, you know?

And the next day, the police car pulled up and they said, "We're taking y'all to jail." I didn't know what was going on. But when we got down to the police station we understand that they said that we had raped a little white girl.

They uh took us down in the bottom of the police station to a cell. And they had us...
Read the full transcript

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

It is Friday morning when we hear from our series StoryCorps.

And today we have the story of an infamous kiss.

It happened in Monroe, North Carolina ... in 1958.

Two African-American children -- James Hanover Thompson and his friend David Simpson were accused of kissing a girl, who was white.

They were arrested, and faced charges of molestation.

It became known around the world as "The Kissing Case."

The Thompson family has rarely talked about this -- but this morning we will hear from James Hanover Thompson.

He recently sat down with his younger brother, Dwight, to talk about what happened.

OUTRO:

James Hanover Thompson and David Simpson were eventually pardoned by North Carolina's governor.

James spent much of the rest of his life in and out of prison for robbery.

Additional Credits

Corporation for Public Broadcasting & The National Endowment of the Arts.

Related Website

www.storycorps.org/listen