Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching

ISBN-10: 0820337668

ISBN-13: 9780820337661

Edition: 2011

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Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynchingtraces the reaction of activists, artists, writers, and local residents to the brutal lynching of a pregnant woman near Valdosta, Georgia. In 1918, the murder of a white farmer led to a week of mob violence that claimed the lives of at least eleven African Americans, including Hayes Turner. When his wife Mary vowed to press charges against the killers, she too fell victim to the mob. Mary’s lynching was particularly brutal and involved the grisly death of her eight-month-old fetus. It led to both an entrenched local silence and a widespread national response in newspaper and magazine accounts, visual art, film, literature, and public memorials. Turner’s story became a centerpiece of the Anti-Lynching Crusaders campaign for the 1922 Dyer Bill, which sought to make lynching a federal crime. Julie Buckner Armstrong explores the complex and contradictory ways this horrific event was remembered in works such as Walter White’s report in the NAACP’s newspaper the Crisis, the “Kabnis” section of Jean Toomer’s Cane, Angelina Weld Grimk ’s short story “Goldie,” and Meta Fuller’s sculpture Mary Turner: A Silent Protest against Mob Violence. Like those of Emmett Till and Leo Frank, Turner’s story continues to resonate on multiple levels. Armstrong’s work provides insight into the different roles black women played in the history of lynching: as victims, as loved ones left behind, and as those who fought back. The crime continues to defy conventional forms of representation, illustrating what can, and cannot, be said about lynching and revealing the difficulty and necessity of confronting this nation’s legacy of racial violence.
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Book details

Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 8/1/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 264
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

Julie Buckner Armstrong is an associate professor of English at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She is coeditor ofTeaching the American Civil Rights Movement: Freedomrsquo;s Bittersweet Songand editor ofThe Civil Rights Reader: American Literature from Jim Crow to Reconciliation(Georgia).

Birth and Nation: Mary Turner and the Discourse of Lynching
Silence, Voice, and Motherhood: Constructing Lynching as a Black Woman's Issue
Brutal Facts and Split-Gut Words: Constructing Lynching as a National Trauma
Contemporary Confrontations: Recovering the Memory of Mary Turner
Marking a Collective Past
"Hamp Smith Murdered; Young Wife Attacked by Negro Farm Hands"
"Her Talk Enraged Them: Mary Turner Taken to Folsom's Bridge and Hanged"
Joseph B. Cumming, Letter to the Editor
The Colored Welfare League, Resolutions Adopted and Sent to Governor Dorsey Urging that He Exercise His Authority Against Such Acts of Barbarism
Colored Federated Clubs of Georgia, Resolutions Expressive of Feelings Sent to President and Governor
Memorandum for Governor Dorsey from Walter F. White
Carrie Williams Clifford, "Little Mother (Upon the Lynching of Mary Turner)"
Honor�e Fanonne Jeffers, "dirty south moon"
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