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The Case File

% A young Navy wife, Thalia Massie, left a Honolulu party late on September 12, 1931. What happened that night triggered rape charges, protests of innocence, and a trial in the media spotlight that would end with the five suspects, all non-whites, being freed.

But the story didn't end there. Navy personnel took matters into their own hands. In early 1932, Massie's husband, Tommy, and mother, Grace Fortescue, kidnapped and killed one of the suspects, Joseph Kahahawai. Their actions would be defended as an "honor killing," and mostly supported by white, mainstream Americans.

What exactly did happen to Thalia Massie? And how did the killers justify their revenge crime? Explore the case file, and read quotes from eyewitnesses and participants in the Massie affair.

Thalia Massie's Alleged Assault
Saturday night, September 12, 1931

Joseph Kahahawai's Murder
Friday, January 8, 1932

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The Massie Affair American Experience

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