Springfield, Illinois, was famous as the hometown and burial site of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator. On August 14, 1908, Springfield erupted in a bloody race riot after Nellie Hallam, the white wife of a streetcar conductor falsely accused George Richardson, a black handyman, of rape. The police spirited Richardson and another black prisoner out of town to protect them from mob violence. Enraged by the escape, the mob rampaged through Springfield, burning black businesses and homes. Three thousand black residents fled the city, and two black men were lynched. The governor called 3,700 state militia troops to suppress the riot, which lasted two days, killed 8 people, injured more than 70 blacks and whites, and destroyed Springfield’s black section. The Springfield riot shocked many Americans because it proved that the South’s violently anti-Negro sentiment had spread North and become a national problem.