An explosive, long-forgotten story of police violence that exposes the historical roots of today's criminal justice crisis
"A deeply researched and propulsively written story of corrupt governance, police brutality, Black resistance, and violent white reaction in turn-of-the-century New Orleans that holds up a dark mirror to our own times."--Walter Johnson, author of River of Dark Dreams
On a steamy Monday evening in 1900, New Orleans police officers confronted a black man named Robert Charles as he sat on a doorstep in a working-class neighborhood where racial tensions were running high. What happened next would trigger the largest manhunt in the city's history, while white mobs took to the streets, attacking and murdering innocent black residents during three days of bloody rioting. Finally cornered, Charles exchanged gunfire with the police in a spectacular gun battle witnessed by thousands.
Building outwards from these dramatic events, To Poison a Nation connects one city's troubled past to the modern crisis of white supremacy and police brutality. Historian Andrew Baker immerses readers in a boisterous world of disgruntled laborers, crooked machine bosses, scheming businessmen, and the black radical who tossed a flaming torch into the powder keg. Baker recreates a city that was home to the nation's largest African American community, a place where racial antagonism was hardly a foregone conclusion--but which ultimately became the crucible of a novel form of racialized violence: modern policing.
A major work of history, To Poison a Nation reveals disturbing connections between the Jim Crow past and police violence in our own times.
About the Author
Andrew Baker earned his PhD in history from Harvard University and is currently a faculty member in the Bates College History Department. The author of To Poison a Nation: The Murder of Robert Charles and the Rise of Jim Crow Policing in America (The New Press), he lives in Lewiston, Maine.
Terrence Hill attended four leading Canadian Universities--as well as talking with the University of Heidelburg law faculty about the Chigago Seven Trial in America. Terrence also was a visiting student at the University of Madrid and was associated with the University of London and the London School of Economics. Terrence was called in 1973 possibly the greatest writer of his generation and was accepted in London, New York and Los Angeles as a leading young playwright. Terrence worked in the financial district of London, England for Thomas Stephens Poole and in 1972, after his honourable military service in the marines worked as an Account Executive on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles. Terrence is now 100% disabled from his military service. His American education came from his military service in the Marine Corps, it is his history, his England. It is his history, his Spain of Queen Isabella. It is his history, his France, France of the Bastille and his history, his Italy- where the giants walked- Burnini, Raphael etc-when living and working in Rome. His daily editorials were said to have saved civilisation and mankind. Terrence is now marketing his two act plays to theatre companies all over the world from his home in Southern California. Terrence is now only an American citizen.