The Lynching of Louie Sam by Elizabeth Stewart

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Synopsis

Between 1882 and 1968 there were 4,742 lynchings in the United States. In Canada during the same period there was one—the hanging of American Indian Louie Sam.

The year is 1884, and 15-year-old George Gillies lives in the Washington Territory, near the border with British Columbia. In this newly settled land, white immigrants have an uneasy relationship with the Native Indians. When George and his siblings discover the murdered body of a local white man, suspicion immediately falls on a young Indian named Louie Sam. George and his best friend, Pete, follow a lynch mob north into Canada, where the terrified boy is seized and hung.

But even before the deed is done, George begins to have doubts. Louie Sam was a boy, only 14—could he really be a vicious murderer? Were the mob leaders motivated by justice, or were they hiding their own guilt? As George uncovers the truth—implicating Pete’s father and other prominent locals—tensions in the town rise, and he must face his own part in the tragedy. But standing up for justice has devastating consequences for George and his family.

Inspired by the true story of the lynching, recently acknowledged as a historical injustice by Washington State, this powerful novel offers a stark depiction of historical racism and the harshness of settler life. The story will provoke readers to reflect on the dangers of mob mentality and the importance of speaking up for what’s right.
 

About Elizabeth Stewart

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Elizabeth Stewart is an outstanding practitioner of the traditional arts. An internationally recognized singer, storyteller, composer, and song writer of remarkable ability, she has performed all over the United Kingdom and made several tours of America. She and her family have been visited by musicians, singers, folklorists, and journalists for over fifty years. Alison McMorland is a traditional singer, collector, broadcaster, teacher, and writer, who over forty years has forwarded the cause of traditional music in her numerous recordings, publications, and classes throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. Her most recent publication is Herd Laddie o the Glen: Songs and Life of the Border Shepherd, Willie Scott.
 
Published July 3, 2012 by Annick Press. 288 pages
Genres: History, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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However, this story, constrained by history, does not follow a narrative arc, and Louie Sam cannot emerge as a character, in part because the author hesitates to express the feelings of the Native Americans.

Aug 22 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lynching of Louie Sam

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