Zora Hurston And The Strange Case Of Ruby McCollum

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9780982094006: Zora Hurston And The Strange Case Of Ruby McCollum
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In 1952, the Pittsburgh Courier hired Zora Neale Hurston to cover the trial of Ruby McCollum, a wealthy African-American wife who shot and killed her white lover, a prominent physician and recently elected state senator. Hurston wrote that the story leading up to the murder filled with a scandalous interracial affair, drugs, and a fortune built on illicit gambling had all the drama and varied play of human emotions that fill the pages of great literature from Plutarch to Shakespeare.

While covering the story, Hurston recalled her work in the timber camps of North Florida, where she had discovered the practice of paramour rights. This unwritten law of the antebellum South allowed a white man to take a colored woman as his concubine and force her to have his children. Hurston expected the upcoming trial of Ruby McCollum to be an unprecedented forum for a Negress to testify in her own defense after being forced, through paramour rights, to bear a powerful white man s children.

Eager to begin her writing assignment, Hurston traveled to Live Oak, only to find that presiding judge Hal W. Adams had issued a gag order banning all but defense attorneys and close relatives from visiting the defendant. When Hurston sought interviews with locals during the course of this Kafkaesque trial, the entire town white and black alike seemed complicit in what she called a conspiracy of silence, operating behind a curtain of secrecy.

Hurston dug deep into the case and eventually published her work as a series in the Courier, but her account of the trial was limited to that newspaper, and later publication in William B. Huie s book, Ruby McCollum: Woman in the Suwannee Jail.

Now, in this richly illustrated volume, Hurston admirers can read the story told through her voice, and see the people and places that she saw.

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About the Author:

Dr. C. Arthur Ellis, Jr. first researched the trial of Ruby McCollum and published a thoroughly annotated copy. For this work, he was a featured guest speaker at the 2004 Miami Book Fair International. Dr. Ellis is currently retired from a career of teaching and administration.

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9780982094044: Zora Hurston And The Strange Case Of Ruby McCollum

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