A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America


by: Madison, James H.
Format: Hardcover

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Product Description After being accused of killing a young white man and sexually abusing his girlfriend, three black teenagers were dragged from the jail by an angry mob, who lynched two of the teens, in a powerful true account that delves into race, justice, and history in America. Amazon.com Review Indiana University professor James H. Madison tells the story behind one of America's most infamous photographs: the image of two black teenagers dangling from a tree after a 1930 lynching in Marion, Indiana. The photo, reproduced on the cover, draws its power not only from the dead boys but also from the "shameless faces" of the white onlookers. The lynching itself involved three black teenagers accused of killing a white man and raping a white woman. Two of the alleged perpetrators were dragged from their jail cells shortly after they supposedly confessed to the crimes; the third, James Cameron, survived only because the crowd came to its senses. He was eventually convicted of voluntary manslaughter (but not murder or rape), served his time, went on to lead a productive life, and was pardoned by the governor in 1993. No member of the lynch mob, however, was ever brought to justice--even though their acts were captured on film and witnessed by thousands. There are holes in the story--whether Mary Ball really was raped "will likely never be known," says Madison--but A Lynching in the Heartland succeeds at providing a detailed look at a horrible incident and its aftermath. --John Miller From Publishers Weekly The jacket photograph is chilling: the bloody bodies of two African-American young men hang from a tree while a crowd of white men and women mills below, dressed as if attending a parade or political rally, gawking and pointing. In this heartfelt and wide-ranging study of this tragedy, Madison explores the events of August 7, 1930, in the small town of Marion, Ind. The two men along with a third, who narrowly escaped were in jail on charges of murdering a white man and raping a white woman when a white mob stormed the jail and hung the two men from a tree outside the nearby courthouse. But Madison (a historian at Indiana University) moves beyond these stomach-churning facts, scrutinizing racial dynamics in Marion in the decades both before and after the lynching. Race was so etched into the minds of white residents that it even followed heroes into death: on a local memorial for World War I soldiers, the names of two of the dead are followed by "(col.)" for "colored." Madison probes how the lynching became a subtext in later years, including in the integration of the town swimming pool in 1954. Only recently, Madison says, has Marion come to terms with its past: the survivor of the lynching was awarded the keys to the city in 1993, and an African-American was finally elected sheriff in 1998. As passionate as it is disturbing, Madison's book is a dire reminder of the horrors the American heartland held for the dispossessed. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal Madison (history, Indiana Univ., Bloomington) examines the story behind a lynching that occurred August 7, 1930, in Marion, IN, and was captured in a photograph showing a large mob of white men and women some smiling for the photographer and all gawking at the suspended corpses of two black men. With community encouragement, the mob had seized three black men who murdered a young white man and raped his girlfriend. The killers hanged Tom Shipp, 19, and Abe Smith, 18, in front of the county courthouse; for unknown reasons, James Cameron, 16, was not lynched. Cameron and most black and white townspeople continually struggled with their memories. Some sought justice, and in the 1990s they met together for remembrance and healing. Through this specific incident, Madison views our history of racial violence. A readable, well-researched history, this volume joins other recent titles (e.g., James Allen and others' Without Sanctua


Product Code: 9780312239022
ISBN: 0312239025
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Publication Date: 2001-10-01
Number of Pages: 204 pages
Languages: english
Edition: 1st
Dimension: 6.3 x 0.98 x 9.21 inches
Shipping Weight: 1 pounds