By hands now known : Jim Crow's legal executioners / Margaret A. Burnham.

Burnham, Margaret A., 1944- [Browse]
First edition.
New York, N.Y. : W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., [2022]
xxiv, 328 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.


Library of Congress genre(s)
Summary note
"A paradigm-shifting investigation of Jim Crow-era violence, the legal apparatus that sustained it, and its enduring legacy, from a renowned legal scholar. If the law cannot protect a person from a lynching, then isn't lynching the law? In By Hands Now Known, Margaret A. Burnham, director of Northeastern University's Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, challenges our understanding of the Jim Crow era by exploring the relationship between formal law and background legal norms in a series of harrowing cases from 1920 to 1960. From rendition, the legal process by which states make claims to other states for the return of their citizens, to battles over state and federal jurisdiction and the outsize role of local sheriffs in enforcing racial hierarchy, Burnham maps the criminal legal system in the mid-twentieth-century South, and traces the unremitting line from slavery to the legal structures of this period and through to today. Drawing on an extensive database, collected over more than a decade and exceeding 1,000 cases of racial violence, she reveals the true legal system of Jim Crow, and captures the memories of those whose stories have not yet been heard"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references (pages 283-317) and index.
  • "A new version of the old, old story"
  • "Mr. Ford's place"
  • "That dusky hospital on DeVilliers Street"
  • Bentonia blues
  • The one-way ride on Airline Highway
  • Resisting rendition
  • Who stays up north, who goes back down south
  • The Color Board
  • POB Noxubee, POD back of the bus
  • A Bus in Hayti
  • "Us colored... sat where we wanted to"
  • Double V on the bus
  • The departments: war and justice
  • The "Negro Transportation" file
  • Reconstruction statutes, Jim Crow Rules
  • "Her hips looked like battered liver"
  • "A little quick on the trigger"
  • "The testimony... of the Negroes seems more probable"
  • "Head... soft as a piece of cotton"
  • "None of Washington's business"
  • "Look to the states"
  • A "patently local crime"
  • "Victim... of a quarrelsome nature"
  • "Bad Birmingham"
  • Negroes are restless
  • "Mr. Van"
  • "Negro youth, shot near white residence, dies"
  • Abduction
  • "Negro leaders cry for justice in kidnap outrage"
  • Black captive, white capture
  • Redress
  • "Found floating in river... cause of death unknown"
  • "A fight with some sailors"
  • Owed? What? And by whom?
  • Epilogue.
  • 9780393867855 ((hardcover))
  • 0393867854 ((hardcover))
  • 9781324066057 ((paperback))
  • 1324066059 ((paperback))
Other standard number
  • 40031671116
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