Based on previously unreleased FBI and Justice Department documents, extensive interviews with many of the surviving principals involved in the case, and a variety of newspaper accounts, Smead meticulously reconstructs the full story of one of the last lynchings in America, detailing a grim, dramatic, but nearly forgotten episode from the Civil Rights era.
In 1959, a white mob in Poplarville, Mississippi abducted a young black man named Mack Charles Parker--recently charged with the rape of a white woman--from his jail cell, beat him, carried him across state lines, finally shot him, and left his body in the Pearl River. A massive FBI investigation ensued, and two grand juries met to investigate the lynching, yet no arrests were ever made. Smead presents a vivid picture of a small Southern town gripped by racism and distrust of federal authority, and describes the travesty of justice that followed in the wake of the lynching. Ultimately revealing more than an account of a single lynching, he offers what he calls "a glimpse at the tidal forces at work in the South on the eve of the civil rights revolution."
"An engaging study of a shocking crime. It will be a revelation to students reared in our own time with more enlightened views on race. I'm sure most students will find this book a real page-turner."--Daniel P. Murphy, Hanover College
"A brutal yet compelling document of a troubled time."--Booklist
"This meticulous account of an almost forgotten event fills a significant gap in the history of the civil rights era."--The Washington Post Book World
"An excellent account of intense white racism in a small Southern town."--Library Journal
"There have been many accounts of lynchings, but Howard Smead's ranks among the very best....Brilliantly told."--Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida
"Based on previously unreleased FBI and Justice Department documents, extensive interviews with those involved in the case and newspaper reports, Howard Smead objectively depicts the harrowing account of vigilante revenge and the failure of the authorities to effect justice."--Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Not only an important book, but one that is well written. It reads more like a fast-paced crime novel than a true story....Required reading for anyone seeking to know more about the unreconstructed South of the days prior to the Civil Rights movement."--Louisiana History
"Smead reconstructs the case with impressive thoroughness and objectivity, providing an intimate look at the dynamics of a Southern lynch mob. A terrible yet gripping story."--Publishers Weekly
"Gripping in detail, meticulous in research, fair in analysis....Blood Justice is the best book this reviewer has read in the genre of lynch histories."--Florida Historical Quarterly
"Smead sheds additional light on yet another chapter in the dark and turbulent history of the Magnolia state....This extremely readable book makes a valuable contribution to southern and black history."--Georgia Historical Quarterly
"A moving account of one of America's last lynchings."--Journal of Southern History
"An excellent study of race prejudice and violence at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement."--L. Lenburg, Mars Hill College
"A revelation of social attitudes in a deep South town, Blood Justice is written in an interesting fashion."--Cline E. Hall, Liberty University
"An excellent, thorough book. I admire Smead's meticulous research. As good as McGovern's Anatomy."--Associate Professor M. Bellesiles, Emory University