A Refugee from His Race: Albion W. Tourgée and His Fight against White Supremacy

By Carolyn L. Karcher | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Campaigning against Lynching with
Ida B. Wells and Harry C. Smith

Upon the limb of a low-branching oak not more than forty steps from the
Temple of Justice, hung the lifeless body of old Jerry. The wind turned it slowly
to and fro. The snowy hair and beard contrasted strangely with the dusky pallor
of the peaceful face, which seemed even in death to proffer a benison to the
people of God who passed to and fro from the house of prayer.

The most notorious scene in Tourgée’s 1879 bestseller A Fool’s Errand, this description of a dead body gyrating in the wind, as it dangled from a tree limb in front of the courthouse, introduced into American literature a subject no white novelist, and only one African American novelist, William Wells Brown, had dramatized before: lynching.1 Brown’s Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States (1853) depicted the burning at stake of a fugitive from slavery who had resisted recapture by committing the “unpardonable offence” of “rais[ing] his hand against a white man.” His grisly punishment served as a warning to his fellows, “nearly 4,000” of whom “were collected from the plantations in the neighbourhood to witness” it.2 The lynching of enslaved blacks remained comparatively rare, however, given their monetary value as property.3 Not until the Reconstruction era did mob murders of African Americans grow rampant, as white supremacists targeted black leaders who defended their people’s rights or whose economic success threatened the goal of reenslaving the black masses in all but name.

Tourgée had fought in vain as a superior court judge in North Carolina to stamp out such vigilante violence and to bring the perpetrators to justice. He had actually seen the shocking sight he fictionalized in A Fool’s Errand—the corpse of his Radical Republican colleague Wyatt Outlaw suspended from a tree a few feet from the entrance of the very courthouse in which Tourgée conducted trials in Alamance County. “Forever seared upon his memory,” as he would recall in a “Bystander” column written twenty-two years after Outlaw’s summary execution and thirteen years after the publication of A Fool’s Errand, his firsthand view of a lynching victim he had personally known and admired guaranteed that Tourgée would speak out passionately against this national crime when it assumed epidemic proportions in the

-196-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Refugee from His Race: Albion W. Tourgée and His Fight against White Supremacy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Chapter One - A Straight-Talking Advocate 1
  • Chapter Two - Passing for Black in Pactolus Prime 54
  • Chapter Three - The "Bystander" 91
  • Chapter Four - The National Citizens’ Rights Association 149
  • Chapter Five - Campaigning against Lynching with Ida B. Wells and Harry C. Smith 196
  • Chapter Six - Representing People of Color and Challenging Jim Crow in the Plessy Case 253
  • Chapter Seven - The View from Abroad 294
  • Afterword 333
  • Notes 337
  • Bibliography 405
  • Index 423
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 444

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.