Item description for Inherit the Land: Jim Crow Meets Miss Maggie's Will by Carl A. Sergio Gene Stowe...
In the early twentieth century, two wealthy white sisters, cousins to a North Carolina governor, wrote identical wills that left their substantial homeplace to a black man and his daughter.
Maggie Ross, whose sister Sallie died in 1909, was the richest woman in Union County, North Carolina. Upon Maggie's death in 1920, her will bequeathed her estate to Bob Ross---a black man who had grown up in the sisters' household---and his daughter Mittie Bell Houston. Mittie had also grown up with the well-to-do white women, who had shown their affection for her by building a house for her and her husband. This house, along with eight hundred acres, hundreds of dollars in cash, and two of the white family's three gold watches went to Bob Ross and Houston. As soon as the contents of the will became known, more than one hundred of Maggie Ross's scandalized cousins sued to break the will, claiming that its bequest to black people proved that Maggie Ross was mentally incompetent.
Revealing the details of this case and of the lives of the people involved in it, Gene Stowe presents a story that sheds light on and complicates our understanding of the Jim Crow South. Stowe's account of this famous court battle shows how specific individuals, both white and black, labored against the status quo of white superiority and ultimately won. An evocative portrait of an entire generation's sins, Inherit the Land hints at the possibility for color-blind justice in small-town North Carolina.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.9" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Publisher University Press of Mississippi
ISBN 1934110604 ISBN13 9781934110607
Reviews - What do customers think about Inherit the Land: Jim Crow Meets Miss Maggie's Will?
Brings That time to life. Aug 20, 2008
I found the referances to news articals and the record of the trial to make the make the sory very moving. If anyone would like to "feel" what it was like during that time the is a great read.
Not as expected Dec 28, 2007
I purchased this book under the thought that it was a story about the black people that inherited the land from the sisters but it was more about the people that made up that area. It was too long in explanations and backgrounds.
It was not what I expected. I can not recommend it.
Story About a Southern Community Pre-Civil Rights Era Mar 8, 2007
The author is obviously passionate about this true story about a southern jury during the days of Jim Crow which ruled in favor of a black family which was willed 800 acres of land by two white women. It reflects honestly what life was like, the patronizing attitudes of white people who considered themselves friends of black, and the integrity of a rural community which was not influenced by the prejudices prevalent in society at that time. Great read!
Easy reading evokes hard thinking Jan 12, 2007
A writing teacher and former reporter puts together all of the elements of good fiction into an extremely well- researched factual account of events that rip a community and intra-family relationships apart. Racial tension and a trial that doesn't turn out like anyone would have predicted climax a detailed study that is anthropologically dissected in plain English. It is not what one would expect to read about a rural North Carolina community in the time period between the Civil War and the 1920s but it did happen and that's the fascination of this book.
TREATMENT OF SOUTHERN BLACKS BY THEIR WHITE NEIGHBORS Jun 28, 2006
Many people who live outside the south think all southern white people treat their "darkies" as slaves, even years following the War of Agression. Little do they know just how well the relationship between whites and blacks has been because very few yankees ever heard of facts that told just how well the situations were and are. This book tells the story of just how well that regard is and was. This book needs to be read by all schoolchildren and their parents all over the United States to point out that racism is not just a thing of the south, but is more rampant everywhere as well as in the yankee north than one would suppose. Why did not the northern newspapers outside of North Carolina pick up this story when it was reported almost daily in 1921 by the Charlotte Observer during the trial? I suppose it was way too painful for the northern states to be faced with the fact that their forebears had been so very wrong about the way black men had been treated by the southerners. Oh, yes! Slavery of any one is wrong, but the yankees took it to extremes. And yes, there was bad treatment by many southern slaveholders, but not all. And to fight a war, killing thousands because of it, many in cold blood, was also wrong. This book is an excellent read and one that should be read by all, young and old, black and white alike. I had the privilege of attending the book signing in the very same courthouse in the very same courtroom in Monroe, NC where the trial was held. Afterwards, I had the distinct pleasure of touring the very same house owned by the Ross sisters, pictured on the cover of the book, (not on any tour). The house has been bought and is being restored by the great granddaughter of the builder of the house. I highly recommend that you buy and read this book and offer it to your teenage children to also read and then discuss it with them. Anne Medlin Sendgikoski, Cartersville, GA