A trio of North Carolina tenant farmers, accused of ax -murdering a white family, faces the impossibility of presumption of innocence during a time when the white supremacist press, dominated by soon to be Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, demonizes all people of color and predetermines guilt.It's about the origins of widespread "fake news," but not the kind Trump criticizes, rather the kind he creates.On Friday, July 13, 1906, fourteen-year-old Addie Lyerly descended the stairs of her Barber Junction, N.C. home and found her parents and one younger sibling bludgeoned to death with the butt of an ax. Her little sister, also injured, was barely alive, and the house had been recently set on fire. It was immediately and conveniently assumed that 5 black or mulatto tenant farmers and the wife of one had committed the crimes. Without ever going to trial, two men and one boy were convicted by a mob, stirred up by a racist press, and lynched near the railroad tracks in Salisbury, North Carolina. It was less than a month after the original murders. Although the mystery of who killed the Lyerlys remained unsolved at the time the first edition of "A Game Called Salisbury" was printed, Bill and Rachel James' recently published book, "The Man From the Train," has shed new light on this case, perhaps providing the evidence that will fully exonerate Nease Gillespie, John Gillespie and Jack Dillingham, the three who were lynched on August 6, 1906. In the words of Yale History Professor, Glenda E. Gilmore, A Game Called Salisbury "pushes into the white South's darkest secrets" and exposes "the limits of justice under white supremacy."
Susan Barringer Wells is an eighth-generation North Carolinian whose fifth great-grandfather, John Wells, is one of 50 signers of The Tryon Resolves, a proclamation of patriots protesting British atrocities in 1775. Wells earned a BA in English with a minor in History at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and afterward studied Commercial Art and Ad Design. After teaching adults and children for a while and working as an editor of children's educational materials, she attended the graduate School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A Game Called Salisbury is the 2009 recipient of North Carolina Society of Historians' Willie Parker Peace History Book Award. It is cited in Equal Justice Initiative's report on "Lynching in America."