Hardback
January 11, 2022
9781421442921
English
288
103519
10
26
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.00 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £22.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
January 11, 2022
9781421442938
9781421442921
English
288
103519
10
26
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £22.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

The Silent Shore

The Lynching of Matthew Williams and the Politics of Racism in the Free State

The definitive account of the lynching of twenty-two-year-old Matthew Williams in Maryland, the subsequent investigation, and the legacy of "modern-day" lynchings.

On December 4, 1931, a mob of white men in Salisbury, Maryland, lynched and set ablaze a twenty-two-year-old Black man named Matthew Williams. His gruesome murder was part of a wave of silent white terrorism in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, which exposed Black laborers to white rage in response to economic anxieties. For nearly a century, the lynching of Matthew Williams has lived in the shadows of the more well-known incidents of racial terror in the deep South, haunting both the Eastern Shore and the state of Maryland as a whole. In The Silent Shore, author Charles L. Chavis Jr. draws on his discovery of previously unreleased investigative documents to meticulously reconstruct the full story of one of the last lynchings in Maryland.

Bringing the painful truth of anti-Black violence to light, Chavis breaks the silence that surrounded Williams's death. Though Maryland lacked the notoriety for racial violence of Alabama or Mississippi, he writes, it nonetheless was the site of at least 40 spectacle lynchings after the abolition of slavery in 1864. Families of lynching victims rarely obtained any form of actual justice, but Williams's death would have a curious afterlife: the politically ambitious Governor Albert C. Ritchie would, in an attempt to position himself as a viable challenger to FDR, become one of the first governors in the United States to investigate the lynching death of a Black person. Richie tasked Patsy Johnson, a member of the Pinkerton detective agency and a former prizefighter, with going undercover in Salisbury and infiltrating the mob that murdered Williams. Johnson would eventually befriend a young local who admitted to participating in the lynching and who also named several local law enforcement officers as ringleaders. Despite this, a grand jury, after hearing 124 witness statements, declined to indict the perpetrators. But this denial of justice galvanized Governor Ritchie's Interracial Commission, which would become one of the pioneering forces in the early civil rights movement in Maryland.

Complicating historical narratives associated with the history of lynching in the city of Salisbury, The Silent Shore explores the immediate and lingering effect of Williams's death on the politics of racism in the United States, the Black community in Salisbury, the broader Eastern Shore, the state of Maryland, and the legacy of "modern-day lynchings."

About the Author

Charles L. Chavis Jr. (FAIRFAX, VA) is an assistant professor of conflict resolution and history at George Mason University, where he is the director of the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race at the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. The national co-chair for the United States Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Movement and the vice chair of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he is the coeditor of For the Sake of Peace: Africana Perspectives on Racism, Justice, and Peace in America.

Endorsements

"Chavis, who has discovered period sources that shed new light on the lynching of Matthew Williams, a Black man who was killed by a mob in Salisbury, Maryland, in 1931, brings the sensibilities of both a scholar and a history detective to bear in scrutinizing the ins and outs of an often complicated story and narrative arc. This book is further enhanced by a number of excellent photographs and other illustrations, as well as some useful charts and maps."

- Claude A. Clegg III, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, author of The Black President: Hope and Fury in the Age of Obama

"Chavis's book brings the painful truth of anti-Black violence to light and breaks the silence that, up until now, has surrounded the murder of Matthew Williams. For nearly 90 years, this lynching has haunted the Eastern Shore; now, Chavis's investigative work helps heal old wounds and opens new ones by revealing Williams's killers and those who assisted them. The detailed retelling of these fateful events—reconstructed from sources never before used by scholars—is powerful, timely, and devastating."

- Aston Gonzalez, Salisbury University, author of Visualizing Equality: African American Rights and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century

9781421442921 : the-silent-shore-chavis
Hardback
January 11, 2022
$29.95 USD
9781421442938 : the-silent-shore-chavis
Electronic book text
January 11, 2022
$29.95 USD

Other Titles in HISTORY / African American

The Assault on Elisha Green

Randolph Paul Runyon
Oct 2021 - University Press of Kentucky
$32.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

The Black President

Claude A. Clegg III
Oct 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$34.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

The People of Rose Hill

Lucy Maddox
Sep 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$54.95 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in History of the Americas

Brazil in the Global Nuclear Order, 1945–2018

Carlo Patti
Dec 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$54.95 USD - Electronic book text

FDR in American Memory

Sara Polak
Dec 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$54.95 USD - Electronic book text

Eastward of Good Hope

Dane A. Morrison
Nov 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$54.95 USD - Electronic book text