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He Calls Me by Lightning: The Life of Caliph Washington and the Forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Bass, S. Jonathan
ISBN: 163149452X     ISBN-13: 9781631494529
Publisher: Liveright Pub Corp
    OUR PRICE: $16.16  
Product Type: Paperback
Published: August 2018
Annotation: This harrowing portrait of the Jim Crow South “proves how much we do not yet know about our history” (New York Times Book Review).
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- History | United States | State & Local
- History | United States | 20th Century
Dewey: 976
Academic/Grade Level: General Adult
Book type: Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 8.25" H x 5.25" W x 1.00" (0.78 lbs) 415 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 March #1)

This account of 17-year-old Caliph Washington's wrongful conviction for a 1957 murder serves as a piercing primer on racism in the American justice system. On July 12, 1957, on a deserted Alabama highway, there was a deadly encounter between 17-year-old Caliph Washington, a black teenager, and James "Cowboy" Clark, a white policeman. Convicted of murder and sentenced to execution the following October, Washington was ultimately released on Mar. 17, 1971. Historian Bass (Blessed Are the Peacemakers) keeps a sharp focus on the town of Bessemer, Ala., known for a "general climate of violence" and corruption, as he proceeds through Washington's multiple trials and appeals in his lengthy trek through local, state, and federal jurisdictions. The book includes detailed accounts of legal maneuvers and decisions, complemented by biographical sketches of just about everyone involved—judges, lawyers, prosecutors, policemen, politicians, fellow prisoners, and Washington's family and friends. A casual reader may get lost in the thicket, but the details—such as the technical workings of the electric chair or a discussion of the salaries of prison guards—are eye-opening and carve out deeper complexities of the American justice system. 25 illus. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.