Analysis Of The Book ' Fire Of A Canebrake ' : ' The Last Mass Lynching '

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Fire in A Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America by Laura Wexler is about the lynching of four African- Americans: Roger Malcom, Dorothy Malcom, George Dorsey, and Mae Murray Dorsey. This occurred in Walton County on July 25, 1946 at the old Moore’s Ford Bridge. The lynching spurred a six month federal investigation in Walton and Oconee County, but eventually led to no convictions or arrest. The FBI had many prime suspects and prime witnesses, but the white community stuck together and the black community was too afraid to speak against their white counter parts. The reason for the lynching at Moore’s Ford Bridge was because the white community of Walton County wanted revenge for Barnette Hester’s stabbing, to keep interracial relationships separate, and to keep whites in control of the political power. Revenge is what set the beginning tone of Wexler’s story and the initial reason for why four African-Americans were shot to death. Roger Malcom, one of the lynching victims, stabbed Barnette Hester out of revenge; he believed that his wife, Dorothy, was sleeping with Barnette (Wexler, page13). Since Roger was black and not white, this was considered an act that the white population could not let go unpunished. The death of Roger Malcom was expected by everyone, even Roger knew, “when Barnette Hester died, he would die too” (Wexler, page 55). Many people at the time thought that this was the main motive behind the lynching and that the other three, Dorothy, Mae Murray,

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