An important story of one man's life, lived with courage and
During the decades of Bourbon ascendancy after 1874, Alabama
institutions like those in other southern states were dominated by
whites. Former slave and sharecropper Jack Turner refused to accept
a society so structured. Highly intelligent, physically imposing,
and an orator of persuasive talents, Turner was fearless before
whites and emerged as a leader of his race. He helped to forge a
political alliance between blacks and whites that defeated and
humiliated the Bourbons in Choctaw County, the heart of the Black
Belt, in the election of 1882. That summer, after a series of bogus
charges and arrests, Turner was accused of planning to lead his
private army of blacks in a general slaughter of the county whites.
Justice was forgotten in the resultant fear and hysteria.
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