The Devil’s Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South’s Most Notorious Slave Jail

Hachette Audio. Apr. 2022. 10:29 hrs. ISBN 9781549193354. $26.98. HIST
Journalist Green (Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County) brings decades of research into this nonfiction narrative of the life of Mary Lumpkin, an enslaved woman. Spotlighting the horrors of slavery, the author brings the main focus to John Lumpkin’s slave jail in Richmond, commonly known as “the devil’s half acre.” Thousands of enslaved people were brought there to be bought, sold, punished, and tortured. John Lumpkin raped and impregnated Mary Lumpkin when she was a child, ultimately bearing seven children, five of whom survived. Narrator Deanna Anthony delivers the details—abject horror—in a measured, even tone that lets their full impact settle onto listeners. When John dies, Mary inherits the slave jail and transforms it. Anthony’s steady, precise delivery matches Green’s attention to detail.
VERDICT The listener will feel satisfied with the ending of this story about one of the evilest places in history.
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