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April 19, 1988

Reverend Al Sharpton, representing the family of Tawana Brawley, an African-American teenager from Wappinger’s Falls, NY, who disappeared for four days in November 1987 during which she claimed that she was physically and sexually assaulted in a racially-charged crime, announced at Vassar that Brawley would speak about her ordeal.

Sharpton said the next day, “At some point it will be necessary to break the pain of the family and to say that we see the system will not work without a victim coming forward.”

Poughkeepsie Journal
In October 1988, a grand jury determined that Brawley had not been sexually assaulted and may have orchestrated her own disappearance and alleged brutalization.

The Years