A Death in Texas: A Story of Race, Murder and a Small Town's by Dina Temple-Raston

By Dina Temple-Raston

A rare account of the way a small Texas city struggled to come back to grips with its racist previous within the aftermath of the brutal homicide of James Byrd, Jr.

On June 7, 1998, a forty-nine-year-old black guy named James Byrd, Jr., used to be chained to the bumper of a truck and dragged 3 miles down a rustic highway via a trio of younger white males. It didn't take lengthy for the citizens of Jasper, Texas, to benefit in regards to the homicide or to fret that the identify in their city may turn into the nation's shorthand for hate crimes.

From the preliminary research in the course of the trials and their aftermath, A dying in Texas tells the tale of the notorious Byrd homicide as noticeable during the eyes of enlightened Sheriff Billy Rowles. What he sees is a group compelled to confront not just a grisly crime but additionally antebellum traditions approximately race. Drawing on wide interviews with key avid gamers, journalist Dina Temple-Raston introduces a amazing solid of characters, from the baby-faced killer, invoice King, to Joe Tonahill, Jasper's white patriarch who can't comprehend the furor over the killing. There's additionally James Byrd, the hard-drinking sufferer along with his personal darkish earlier; the prosecutor and safety lawyers; and invoice King's father, who's demise of a damaged middle as he awaits his son's execution.

Just as Bernard Lefkowitz pulled again the curtain on Glenridge, New Jersey, in his vintage paintings Our men, Temple-Raston is going backstage in Jasper, Texas, to inform the tale of a city the place racism and evil made itself at domestic

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A Death in Texas: A Story of Race, Murder and a Small Town's Struggle for Redemption

A unprecedented account of the way a small Texas city struggled to return to grips with its racist previous within the aftermath of the brutal homicide of James Byrd, Jr.

On June 7, 1998, a forty-nine-year-old black guy named James Byrd, Jr. , used to be chained to the bumper of a truck and dragged 3 miles down a rustic highway via a trio of younger white males. It didn't take lengthy for the citizens of Jasper, Texas, to profit concerning the homicide or to fret that the identify in their city might develop into the nation's shorthand for hate crimes.

From the preliminary research during the trials and their aftermath, A dying in Texas tells the tale of the notorious Byrd homicide as obvious during the eyes of enlightened Sheriff Billy Rowles. What he sees is a neighborhood pressured to confront not just a grisly crime but in addition antebellum traditions approximately race. Drawing on broad interviews with key avid gamers, journalist Dina Temple-Raston introduces a striking forged of characters, from the baby-faced killer, invoice King, to Joe Tonahill, Jasper's white patriarch who can't comprehend the furor over the killing. There's additionally James Byrd, the hard-drinking sufferer together with his personal darkish previous; the prosecutor and safeguard lawyers; and invoice King's father, who's death of a damaged middle as he awaits his son's execution.

Just as Bernard Lefkowitz pulled again the curtain on Glenridge, New Jersey, in his vintage paintings Our men, Temple-Raston is going behind the curtain in Jasper, Texas, to inform the tale of a city the place racism and evil made itself at domestic

Additional info for A Death in Texas: A Story of Race, Murder and a Small Town's Struggle for Redemption

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There are, however, many variations in the enactment of the rituals, as well as in the meanings ascribed to the various rituals. For example, the rules regarding the wearing of the mourning garments are not strictly adhered to, although the correct mourning codes are laid out in the Book of Rites. In some cases only two grades, instead of the standard five, are observed, with all the deceased’s sons and their children wearing white and all the deceased’s daughters and their children wearing black.

Informants maintain that young children are more vulnerable to attacks by evil spirits and their presence at the funeral is not encouraged. Pregnant women and newly-wed couples are also not allowed to attend. There are two reasons for these taboos. First, since funerals are associated with death, the vicinity of the funeral is potentially dangerous to all the living. Strangers and visitors regard the deceased with fear and dread because the corpse is thought to be inherently dangerous. Precautions must be taken to protect them from harm by the deceased, who during this transitory period between being a dead person and an ancestor is not easily controllable.

That is why only friends are allowed to load the coffin into the lorry and lead the cortege to the graveyard, with the family following behind, pulling at the cortege as if to prevent it from leaving. On arrival at the graveyard, the coffin is lowered into the ground. This too is done by friends or professional helpers. The coffin must be perfectly aligned with the gravestone because failure to do so will result in the inability of the soul of the deceased to receive the offerings made to him. Others engage a fengshui expert, or geomancer, to ensure that this is done correctly.

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