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Hanging Bridge


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About the Author

Jason Morgan Ward is Associate Professor of History at Mississippi State University. He is the author of Defending White Democracy: The Making of a Segregationist Movement and the Remaking of Racial Politics, 1936-1965.


If racism is America s original sin, lynching represents its unresolved legacy, one with a residue that lingers today. Jason Ward s Hanging Bridge exposes how the architecture of white supremacy and racism led to brutal acts of violence in a small corner of Mississippi, yet the impact of this masterfully written book reaches well beyond the borders of the place it examines. Ward weaves a compelling narrative that makes the reader pay close attention to history s echo and see and hear how the past often reveals itself in the present. --W. Ralph Eubanks, author of Ever Is a Long Time and The House at the End of the Road
Hanging Bridge is a compelling, insightful, and deeply moving investigation into the history of racial terror that has shaped America. Our nation has long ignored the era of violent resistance to racial equality and today the shadow of this painful, persistent American problem can still be seen. Timely, urgent, and beautifully written, Jason Morgan Ward s work is a much needed light into a past that we have refused to see for far too long. --Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy:
A Story of Justice and Redemption
Racial violence in Mississippi is vividly rendered and carefully chronicled in Hanging Bridge. In this thoroughly researched bridge to the past, Jason Ward takes us back to this remote space of terror and shares one gripping story that represents many stories of terror under the violent wings of Jim Crow. We must never forget these stories. --Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, winner of the National Book Award
"Ward assiduously details the circumstances of these two lynching incidents, skillfully balancing newspaper articles and editorials from white-owned and black-owned publications, archival records, and personal accounts from African Americans, reconstructing the varying interpretations of the events held by black and white communities....A skillfully storyteller, Ward has proffered a refreshing and enlightening approach to longitudinal studies of local race relations. Hanging Bridge is a wonderful and unique contribution to studies on lynching, civil rights, and memory, all told through the lens of a tragic and singular location in Mississippi."--Tameka Bradley Hobbs, The Journal of Southern History
"Jason Ward has written a compelling account of racist atrocities in an obscure Mississippi county in the early twentieth century, reminding us once again that for many white Americans, black lives have never mattered. But this is also the story of local people coming to grips with this legacy of terror, overcoming it, and demanding their freedom. 'Hanging Bridge, ' then, is both a sobering and inspiring book, solidly researched and beautifully written."--John Dittmer, author of Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi
"Jason Morgan Ward delves deep into the violent heart of one rural county in Mississippi to tell a powerful and provocative story. Two lynchings, six victims, and generations of terror, trauma, and lies-this book excavates key truths about the politics and culture of white supremacy, as the ever-present threat of murder evolved into subtler attacks on African Americans. 'Hanging Bridge' tells a ghost story that continues to haunt us-absolutely unforgettable."--Daniel J. Sharfstein, Vanderbilt University, author of The Invisible Line: A Secret History of Race in America
"With insight and eloquence, and in the best tradition of civil rights scholarship, Jason Ward locates in a remote Southern hamlet the exposed roots of our long history of racial intolerance."--Philip Dray, author of At The Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America

Jason Ward has ventured into one of the darkest corners of our history, and brought back the long-hidden story of Shubuta, Mississippi s notorious lynching site. Hanging Bridge is harrowing, meticulously-documented, and vitally important to the ongoing struggle for truth and reconciliation. --Patrick Phillips, author of Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America
Hanging Bridge is a beautifully written, harrowing story of America s bloody history of racial violence and the long African American struggle for freedom. The horrific crimes committed on a lonely bridge in Shubuta, Mississippi will haunt America until we come to terms with our past--a past that is more terrible and less hopeful than many realize. --Danielle L. McGuire, author of At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power

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