The Dallas Morning News tells the story of Isaac Bruce, who traveled to Hillsboro, Texas in June 1892 to celebrate Emancipation Day. But by the end of the festivities, Bruce had lost his freedom after being falsely accused of rape. The Bruce case led to deep soul-searching in a racially charged Lone Star State.
Bruce's journey through the legal system demonstrates how standards of fairness have evolved but also how some of the same troubling questions about justice remain more than a century later. It resonates today as a parade of wrongfully convicted men continues to march across America. The Dallas Morning News retraced Bruce's journey from the scene of the crime, to the square where a sheriff and armed residents held off a lynch mob, to the courthouse where his trial occurred and to the jail where he was held while the scaffolding for his hanging was being built.