Hell Put to Shame: The 1921 Murder Farm Massacre and the Horror of America’s Second Slavery

HarperAudio. Apr. 2024. 12:22 hrs. ISBN 9780063265417. $27.99. CRIME
Swift (Across the Airless Wilds) takes listeners to 1921 Jasper County, GA, where 11 Black men were brutally murdered at a former plantation known as the Murder Farm. Two of the men, weighed down with sacks of rocks and submerged in a nearby river, were discovered by a young boy; soon after, the bodies of the other nine men were found. Authorities suspected that farm owner John S. Williams was behind the murders, and a high-profile investigation and court case ensued. This shocking account uncovers the brutal history of peonage, a form of enslavement that persisted after the close of the Civil War and was directly responsible for the men’s deaths. Swift describes how James Weldon Johnson, the NAACP’s first Black leader, and Johnson’s lieutenant, Walter F. White, worked to infiltrate this violent underground and shed light on ongoing atrocities in the South. Narrator Mark Deakins offers a stunning performance of this groundbreaking case and the determined men who brought Williams to justice. Deakins’s narration is atmospheric and tense as he tells this heart-wrenching tale and describes the horrors inflicted on these and so many other individuals.
VERDICT An outstanding and highly recommended blend of history, police procedural, and courtroom drama.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing