He Calls Me by Lightning: The Life of Caliph Washington and the Forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty

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Product Details

Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.7 inches | 1.65 pounds

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About the Author

S. Jonathan Bass is a professor at Alabama's Samford University and the author of Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Martin Luther King, Jr., Eight White Religious Leaders, and the "Letter from Birmingham Jail." He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.


This absorbing chronicle of deep injustice reveals how the Jim Crow South protected racial humiliation with distorted law and organized terror. Written with insider knowledge and analytical power, the book engages our senses to experience repression and challenges our intellect to appreciate the courage of resistance.--Ira Katznelson, author of Fear Itself
The stamina needed to read S. Jonathan Bass's instructive book about justice systematically deferred in Bessemer, Alabama, is a measure of the reader's determination to find a scintilla of humanity in a Jim Crow social order apparently unchanged even today--David Levering Lewis, Pulitzer Prize winning author of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography
He Calls Me By Lightning insists that we face the cost of lives that don't matter to a persistent racial caste system. It reminds us that human endurance and irrepressible love outlast the glacial pace of change, and proves how much we do not yet know about our history.--Timothy B. Tyson
He Calls Me by Lightning is riveting, heartbreaking, and vitally important. Through meticulous research and vivid prose, Bass brings the raucous world of Bessemer, Alabama, to life as it was in the Jim Crow era, and recovers the epic story of Caliph Washington's struggle for freedom. This odyssey through a profoundly unjust legal system has a great deal to teach us all about the present.--Patrick Phillips, author of Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America