Ruby McCollum, a black woman, was tried for murdering a white doctor who she claimed mentally and physically abused her. Evans uses the trial--which was covered by novelist Zora Neale Hurston--to examine the institutionalized silence that surrounded black women in the 1950s South.
A superb study that those interested in history, literature, gender and race studies, and the politics of oppression will find invaluable in understanding the ongoing complexities of race relations informed by gender and class in the United States.
--Journal of Southern History
An interesting book about the rhetoric of silence. Evans cleverly shows how fear, race, class, gender, power, and silence all contributed to the crafting of a public Ruby McCollum and in doing so gives McCollum a voice.
Evans presents an intriguing and compelling study of the race, gender, and class dynamics of segregated small-town Florida at mid-century.
--Tampa Bay History
Reveals the powerful memory work accomplished by southerners’ reticence or refusal to speak. . . . [and] demonstrates the rhetorical value of muteness and the scholarly value of looking at public memory as a product not only of stuff but also of absence.
A tour de force that locates the unique forms of control and persuasion enacted by southern culture, and their meaning for the writing of history and historical memory alike. . . . A tremendously successful and engaging book.
--Florida Historical Quarterly