Fact Check

An Old Black Vet Speaks Out

Is a circulating e-mail really the opinion of a dying "old black vet" named William G. Lillas?

Published Nov 16, 2014

 (vectorfusionart / Shutterstock.com)
Image Via vectorfusionart / Shutterstock.com
A dying black veteran named William G. Lillas spoke out on his deathbed about a number of issues in black culture.

In August 2014, shortly after the controversial shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the above-quoted e-mail forward began circulating. In it, a "dying black veteran" rattled off a laundry list of loosely related (and some entirely unconnected) issues the author perceived to be prevalent among black Americans:

I was told by my parents (yes, a married man and woman with my last name), that I was nigger. We lived in "Nigger Town" in a small Texas town, no A/C, grass growing through the floor, no car, no TV. We washed our bodies with lye soap that my mother made, by hand. I thought I was a nigger, until I graduated high school, went to college, did an enlistment in the Army, and got a job. I am now retired, own my own home, have 6 children by ONE WOMAN, and we all have the same last name. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts, a Master's Degree in Sociology. My retirement, VA disability from combat in the Korean War (I only have one leg), and part-time pay in a local college, is about $125,000 a year. From dirt poor nigger, to old, black, proud American.

Yes, I am black, and I can say "nigger", because I understand the true meaning of the word.Let's clear up a few things about the Michael Brown incident.

-Fact: It is not called "shoplifting or stealing", it's called "robbery", which is a felony. Brown stole something and assaulted someone, that means ROBBERY. It's on video, and it's a fact. Not shoplifting, not theft, not "lifting" a few cigars, but ROBBERY!

-Michael Brown, like Trayvon, was portrayed by the media as a "little black boy", cute little headphones, and his cap and gown photo, gunned down by a ruthless police assassin, executed by "whitey". First, I have never seen a cop drag a person into their car's driver door to arrest them. So, let us be clear, Michael Brown was a nigger; a sorry assed, criminal, hoodlum, nigger. Nobody wants to say that, but I will. He had a criminal record a mile long, was known for numerous assaults, robberies, including the one you saw with your own eyes, and still refuse to call it a robbery. He was, like so many others, living a life that he thought he was "entitled" to, just for being alive. Gangsta rap, weed, drinking, guns, and those stupid-assed low profile rims, makes him some kind of bad-ass nigger.

-I have fought communist Chinese and North Korean soldiers in the 1950's with more honor than that nigger. Yep, I peeled potatoes and shot communists. That's the only job a nigger soldier could get.

-Rodney King? Black Riots!

-Trayvon? Black Riots!

-Hurricane Katrina? Black Riots! Stealing TV's, designer clothes, etc.

-O.J. Simpson kills white man and white woman, found NOT GUILTY? Did white folks riot? Nope!

-In fact, when is the last time white people rioted? Civil War, maybe? That's because they are, relatively, civilized people, much like many black Americans. Protesting is one thing, hell, I'm all for it. Even if you are an ignorant idiot, you have a right to protest.

-Stop only showing the young black "cap and gown" photos of Michael. Charles Manson may have a few of those laying around, as well. Show the nigger "gangsta" photos of the "poor unarmed teenager" (grown man) pics that have been removed from his Facebook page, holding the loaded pistol, smoking weed, with a mouthful of money.

-Militarization? The stupid-assed media that publicizes this has no idea what "militarization" really is. Cops wear helmets and vests, and drive armored vehicle because unemployed niggers thrown bricks at them, moron! You put on an "Adam 12" uniform and walk down the streets of Ferguson during the criminal riots. I can guarantee that you'll jump into the
first armored "military tank" that you see.

-You only "want the police" when you "need the police", otherwise, you mock and fear what you do not understand about the police. And by the way, the police are trained to take your shit, but I wouldn't fuck around with those Army National Guard, they aren't as well disciplined "culturally" to take your shit like police do every day. They will ventilate your black asses with M-16s, with military precision and extreme prejudice.

-And finally, the way we protest and demand justice, is run down the streets breaking shit, looting stores, and acting like a bunch of untrained monkeys? Hell, after Rodney King, criminal niggers were actually killing people, thinking they were entitled to be worse criminals than they already were. For those black criminals that do that, you are a disgrace to your race, inflamed by idiots like Al Sharpton, instead of listening to logic from proud black Americans, like Bill Cosby, Samuel Jackson, Colin Powell, Allen West, me, etc.

-You blame white people for your ignorance, criminal acts, unemployed laziness, etc.

-You blame white people for 89% of the prisons in America being full of blacks. They did nothing wrong, the racists white cops framed them all, right? No chance at school, no chance for college, military, employment? BULL SHIT!

-More niggers kill niggers, than niggers killing whites, whites killing niggers, and whites killing whites ... COMBINED. I find this astounding.

-It's not white peoples' faults, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by a white man years ago. You can go to school, get a job, buy a house, and vote, JUST LIKE WHITE FOLKS!!!! You are not a slave, you are not discriminated against! Slavery is abolished, and nobody alive today, was alive when it was popular. Get over it! You are discriminated against because you are a criminal, sorry-assed nigger. Otherwise, black Americans are treated like everyone else.

-If you choose to create "baby daddy and baby mama", and fake disabilities as an excuse for laziness to draw social security disability...... instead of husband, wife, family, job, mortgage, it's YOUR FAULT, not white folks. And there are a lot of proud black Americans that will tell you the same, as I AM ONE OF THEM!!!

-Remember, the way you act on the camera, is remembered by everyone who sees it. They will never forget it. It shows them how you, as the black race, responds to situation that don't particularly go the way you think they should. It will become a reference standard, something they expect from you when the next media report doesn't go your way. Stop being stupid niggers, and be a proud black American. My parents raised me well, but they were wrong about one thing, I am not a nigger.

I will not be around long. While my mind is still sharp, and my aim is still good, my body is eating away with cancer. It started in the prostate, and is spreading rapidly. After I die, I have asked my children to publish my writings, and include my name. Although I am not expecting any miracles, I can only hope that American will stop blaming color, start blaming criminals, and see people for what they really are. We have too many countries that want us dead. We should not be fighting each other.

Since it began appearing in our inboxes in August 2014, the "dying black vet" e-mail has changed a bit. Many versions are prefaced with a brief introduction suggesting the original "author" wasn't the author at all, making its true origins murky. The paragraphs commonly introducing the e-mail suggest even in its initial circulation the piece was not the work of a "dying black veteran," but rather of a white person inventing an authoritative black person to convey a message:

OLD BLACK VET SPEAKS OUT, "WAKE UP!" The words of a dying man have always captured my attention, right or wrong, they are worth reading. I believe what this dying man has to say has a lot of truth. May not be what some will want to hear.

I wanted to clear up a few black and white questions and answers. The things I state are facts. They are not downloaded from some media website, not propaganda, just observations from a 70 year old black man, born in America.

(If the "black vet" who supposedly authored this piece were truly 70 years old, he could not possibly have seen combat in Korea as he states in the initial paragraph of the message: that war took place from 1950-53, when he would have been a mere elementary school-age child. Later iterations of this piece conveniently "upgraded" his age to 83 to support the Korean War vet timeline.)

The author of the introduction above is unknown, as is the author of the original e-mail. However, on 27 August 2014, the e-mail was posted to the personal blog of a person who prefaced it thusly:

I have no way of verifying this. It was sent to me by a friend of mine who I think is reliable and he admitted up front that since no name was associated with it, he could not verify it and he was also concerned that even if he could it would endanger the person who wrote it. Symptoms of the times in which we are living. So I'm putting up my Uncle Remus picture to go with it. It rings true, but I don't know.

The text seemingly did not enter widespread circulation until this 27 August 2014 blog post, and given the qualifiers of "sent to me by a friend" who "admitted up front no name was associated with it" and who was "unable to verify it" due to unspecified safety concerns, it's possible the "words of a dying black veteran" originated with the blog post itself.

By November 2014, it seems that concerns about the anonymity of the e-mail hampered its spread, as a name became attached to the commentary: William G. Lillas. For months, the remarks circulated without attribution, and it's not clear how the name "William G. Lillas" adhered to it. It's possible the missive was reposted or e-mailed by a person of that name, creating the incorrect impression the reposter was the original author.

While the words are aimed at the presumed failings of black Americans, we can't find one forward or notable repost of the item that didn't come from a white person. Most likely, the e-mail forward was authored by a white person who wished to express unpopular racial prejudices and felt the image of an elderly (and wise) black gentleman with a proud history of military service was the most authoritative candidate to deliver his list of grievances with a number of racial issues and general events.


Bradley, Tahman.   "'Possible Powerball Winner Caught on Tape."     WABC-TV.   29 November 2012.

"Riverside County Father of Five Wins $180M Mega Millions Jackpot."     CBS Los Angeles.   3 September 2014.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.