Confronting Racial Injustice Panel: The Charles Stuart Case: White Lies and Black Lives

Charles Stuart, a white man, murdered his wife and unborn child in Boston in 1989 and falsely blamed the attack on a nonexistent Black man. Believing Stuart’s lie, the police engaged in a massive manhunt that terrorized a Black community in Mission Hill with detention, public strip-searches, and the arrest of two innocent men. As some lawmakers demanded the death penalty, the media perpetuated this false story. The Stuart case exemplifies how the narrative of white supremacy continues to lead to the dehumanization and devaluation of Black lives. Widespread acceptance of white lies over Black lives persists today.

Kim McLaurin, Associate Dean, Suffolk University Law School

Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Dean, Boston University School of Law
Hon. Leslie Harris (ret.), Suffolk Juvenile Court
Renée Graham, Columnist, The Boston Globe


About the Series

Massachusetts is often heralded as the home of the abolition movement and one of the first states to abolish slavery. Yet the Commonwealth’s economy developed in collaboration with states that claimed people as property. This series explores how enslavement and white supremacy shaped the history of Massachusetts and how they continue to shape its present. From the first program “Slavery, Wealth Creation, and Intergenerational Wealth” to the final event “The Charles Stuart Story: White Lies and Black Lives,” the series asks us all to understand, acknowledge, and confront racial injustice.

Developed by Northeastern Law's Criminal Justice Task Force, Confronting Racial Injustice is a free, five-part series hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and sponsored by a number of Boston-area organizations.

Download the flyer


The Confronting Racial Injustice panel series is chaired by
Barbara F. Berenson, Lecturer, Harvard Law School; Senior Administrative Attorney, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (ret.)
the Hon. Barbara A. Dortch-Okara, Massachusetts Superior Court (ret.), former Chief Justice of the Trial Court.

Sponsored by

Northeastern University School of Law
Massachusetts Historical Society
Anti-Defamation League of New England
Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston
Boston Athenaeum
Boston Bar Association
Boston College Law School
Boston University School of Law
Beyond Conflict
Dorchester Historical Society
Flaschner Judicial Institute
Jamaica Plain Historical Society
King’s Chapel
Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys
Massachusetts School of Law at Andover
Museum of African American History
New England Law/Boston
Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School
Revolutionary Spaces
Roxbury Historical Society
Royall House & Slave Quarters
South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston
Suffolk University Law School
The UU Urban Ministry
Trinity Church Boston
Tufts University
University of Massachusetts School of Law
West End Museum
Western New England Law School

June 9, 2021

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Register Online