Charleston: September 24, 1924. Legal deposition made by one Ethel Walters as a witness to the death of an African American man, Abel Smalls, on September 1, 1924. Walters and her young child had been riding from Charleston to Folly Island that evening when the car they were in broke down. The car was parked on the side of the road where Walters remained for the next hour while the problem was being fixed. While she was sitting in the back seat a "truck in which the Negro Abel Smalls was riding, [approached] from Charleston, [and] deponent from her own knowledge knows that none of the Negroes in the truck were hanging off of the side as there were seats in the truck and all the Negroes were seated..." As the crew passed Walters's disabled car, a bus belonging to the Thompson Transfer Company of Charleston rammed into the back of their truck, throwing off Smalls, whose head was immediately run over by the bus.
Though we have been unable to trace any record of the event in contemporary news sources, the resurgence during this period of the Ku Klux Klan together with Walters's description of the event – the road was straight for at least half a mile and the bus made no effort to slow down or honk in warning -– imply that the incident could have been intentional. An advertisement for the Thompson Transfer Company in a contemporary tourist guide to Charleston stresses that the company offered "White Chauffeurs...and 8-Cylinder Cadillacs." In a sad twist of fate, William Legare (whose seal notarizes this document), who would shortly afterwards be elected to the South Carolina state senate, died himself in a car accident six years later. Six post-bound leaves (31.5x20cm.) textually used on rectos of first five leaves only; previous folds with some brief splitting, last leaf (blank) slightly torn, minor toning to extremities, else Near Very Good. Signed and pressure-stamped by Legare at end of statement.