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He Calls Me By Lightning The Life Of Caliph Washington An

 
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MessagePosté le: Mar 4 Juil - 19:58 (2017)    Sujet du message: He Calls Me By Lightning The Life Of Caliph Washington An Répondre en citant




<strong>A heroic reconstruction of the forgotten life of a wrongfully convicted man whose story becomes an historic portrait of racial injustice in the civil rights era.</strong>

Caliph Washington didn&#x2019;t pull the trigger but, as Officer James "Cowboy" Clark lay dying, he had no choice but to turn on his heel and run. The year was 1957; Cowboy Clark was white, Caliph Washington was black, and this was the Jim Crow South.

As <em>He Calls Me by Lightning</em> painstakingly chronicles, Washington, then a seventeen-year-old simply returning home after a double date, was swiftly arrested, put on trial, and sentenced to death by an all-white jury. The young man endured the horrors of a hellish prison system for thirteen years, a term that included various stints on death row fearing the "lightning" of the electric chair. Twentieth-century legal history is tragically littered with thousands of stories of such judicial cruelty, but S. Jonathan Bass&#x2019;s account is remarkable in that he has been able to meticulously re-create Washington&#x2019;s saga, animating a life that was not supposed to matter.

Given the familiar paradigm of an African American man being falsely accused of killing a white policeman, it would be all too easy to apply a reductionist view to the story. What makes <em>He Calls Me by Lightning</em> so unusual are a spate of unknown variables&#x2015;most prominently the fact that Governor George Wallace, nationally infamous for his active advocacy of segregation, did, in fact, save this death row inmate&#x2019;s life. As we discover, Wallace stayed Washington&#x2019;s execution not once but more than a dozen times, reflecting a philosophy about the death penalty that has not been perpetuated by his successors.

Other details make Washington&#x2019;s story significant to legal history, not the least of which is that the defendant endured three separate trials and then was held in a county jail for five more years before being convicted of second-degree murder in 1970; this decision was overturned as well, although the charges were never dismissed. Bass&#x2019;s account is also particularly noteworthy for his evocation of Washington&#x2019;s native Bessemer, a gritty, industrial city lying only thirteen miles to the east of Birmingham, Alabama, whose singularly fascinating story is frequently overlooked by historians.

By rescuing Washington&#x2019;s unknown life trajectory&#x2015;along with the stories of his intrepid lawyers, David Hood Jr. and Orzell Billingsley, and Christine Luna, an Italian-American teacher and activist who would become Washington&#x2019;s bride upon his release&#x2015;Bass brings to multidimensional life many different strands of the civil rights movement. Devastating and essential, <em>He Calls Me by Lightning</em> demands that we take into account the thousands of lives cast away by systemic racism, and powerfully demonstrates just how much we still do not know.
25 illustrations


Details:
rank: #8,623
price: $18.28
bound:
publisher: Liveright; 1 edition (May 16, 2017)
lang: English
asin:
isbn: 1631492373, 978-1631492372,
weight: 1.6 pounds (
filesize:



He Calls Me By Lightning: The Life of Caliph Washington and the forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty S Jonathan Bass
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