Welcome to today’s post for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. For each day, I’ll be sharing the opening paragraphs to a book that starts with that letter and is sitting on my shelves or my Kindle.

L is for Lynching

The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan by Laurence Leamer

Prologue: Fists against the Earth

Early Saturday morning on March 21, 1981, a young woman was out riding her bicycle with her dog along Herndon Avenue in Mobile, Alabama, a modest residential street no more than three hundred yards long. it was the first day of spring, and in the predawn light, the woman saw what she assumed was a dummy hanging from a camphor tree and continued down the road. A few minutes later, an elderly man went out to buy the morning paper and saw what he figured was a black man breaking into a house. Once he got back to his own home, he called the police. Other passersby saw what they thought was a man strung up by a noose, his feet barely off the ground, and they too phoned the police.

When the officers arrived there shortly after dawn, they found the body of a black man hanging from a tree. They cordoned off the vacant lot at 112 Herndon Avenue but left the body there and waited for the coroner to do the job of taking it down and removing it. When one black person heard about the murder, he called a friend and that person called someone else, and soon scores of black spectators arrived.

There had not been a lynching in America in a quarter century, and no one standing looking at the body had ever seen such a crime, but they had heard about it from family members and read about it in social science books in school.

So, what do you think? Read it soon or give it a pass?


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