MILWAUKEE (AP) - An African-American author who survived a lynching 62 years
ago received a pardon Thursday from Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh for a crime he said
he never committed.
James Cameron, 78, founder of America's Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee,
was 16 when he and two companions were dragged from a jail in Marion, Ind.,
after being accused of murdering a white man and raping his companion.
Cameron, author of "A Time of Terror," said his two companions were hanged.
There was a rope around his neck when someone in the crowd came to his defense
and he was returned to jail, he said.
After four years in prison for being an accessory to voluntary manslaughter,
he was paroled. He began petitioning for in 1991 for a pardon.
Bayh issued the pardon, saying Cameron "has remained crime-free for 61
years" and has "earned the confidence and support from his peers in the
The Indiana Parole Board recommended the pardon 4-1, chairman Joseph Smith
It means the state "forgives you for that crime," Smith said. "It does not
clear the record."
"It's quite an emotional thing," Cameron said after getting the news from
Smith. "I'm going to pray tonight."
He said there may be a celebration when he next visits Marion. He was in the
community last month for the Black History Council of Marion's celebration of
Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
"The whole city, I think, is going to join in," Cameron said.
Cameron's cousin Thomas Wise, a Marion police detective, said Cameron "has
really lived a model life since that incident. If he would have his slate
cleared, that would mean an awful lot to him."
A publisher plans another printing of Cameron's book. He said it will have
new information about a sheriff who he says was a Ku Klux Klan member at the
time of the incident Aug. 7, 1930, and about grand jury records that show "it
was a put-up job."