Elegy for Mary Turner: An Illustrated Account of a Lynching

Verso. Mar. 2021. 80p. ISBN 9781788739047. pap. $24.95. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Williams (Run Home If You Don’t Want To Be Killed) uses woodcuts, watercolor, clippings, photos, vintage postcards, and blotchy hand-inked script for the wrenching story of pregnant Mary Turner, tortured and lynched with her baby in 1918 Georgia simply for protesting the lynching of her husband the day before. All told some dozen people were lynched in that spree of mob violence, allegedly intended to avenge the killing of a white plantation owner. Hundreds of other Black people fled the area in terror, but no punishment ever came to the lynch mobs. Moreover, a full account appeared in the press due only to NAACP investigator Walter White. Supplemental essays (by a relative of the Turners, a historian, and an activist-educator) broaden the story. Excellent inspiration for creators seeking unique ways to tell difficult stories.
VERDICT This well-done art-text collage about an unimaginably horrific crime resonates eerily with 2020’s racist murders and antiracist activism
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