Thirteen Loops by B. J. Hollars
Race, Violence, and the Last Lynching in America

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Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence, and the Last Lynching in America recounts the story of three innocent victims, all of whom suffered violent deaths through no fault of their own: Vaudine Maddox in 1933 in Tuscaloosa, Sergeant Gene Ballard in 1979 in Birmingham, and Michael Donald in 1981 in Mobile.   The death of Vaudine Maddox--and the lynchings that followed--serves as a cautionary tale about the violence that occurred in the same region nearly fifty-years later, highlighting the cowardice, ignorance, and happenstance that sustained a culture of racial intolerance far into the future.     Nearly half a century later, after a black bank robber was acquitted for the murder of police Sergeant Gene Ballard, two Klansmen took it upon themselves to exact revenge on an innocent victim--nineteen-year-old African American Michael Donald.  Donald's murder--deemed the last lynching in America--reignited the race debate in America and culminated in a courtroom drama in which the United Klans of America were at long last put on trial.      While tracing the relationships among these murders, B. J. Hollars's research led him deep into the heart of Alabama’s racial, political, and legal landscapes.  A work of literary journalism, Thirteen Loops  draws upon rarely examined primary sources, court documents, newspaper reports, and first-hand accounts in an effort to unravel the twisted tale of a pair of interconnected murders that forever altered United States' race relations.

About B. J. Hollars

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B.J. Hollars is the editor of You Must Be This Tall To Ride: Contemporary Writers Take You Inside The Story. He received his M.F.A in Creative Writing from The University of Alabama and has published in North American Review, Ninth Letter, and The Southeast Review, among others. He is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Published September 6, 2011 by University Alabama Press. 264 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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This event sparked an act of violent retribution, resulting in the 13-looped noose, revenge lynching of innocent, 19-year-old Michael Donald in Mobile by two admitted Klansmen, an event that, after a guilty court ruling, ended up bankrupting the United Klans of America faction.

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Publishers Weekly

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In 1981, Michael Donald, a 19-year-old black man from Mobile, Alabama, was lynched by two members of the KKK, the killers making 13 loops as they tightened the rope around his neck.

Sep 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Thirteen Loops: Race, Violenc...

The Huntsville Times

But examining Michael Donald’s death without the necessary context presents a further tragedy, one that denies Mobile of advancements, regardless how small, toward greater equality achieved during the city’s long civil rights movement.

Jan 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Thirteen Loops: Race, Violenc...

Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

It appears the term “lynching” is too archaic for the twenty first century -- which is why the media and the court system have apparently chosen to leave the term lynching with the death of Michael Donald, and adopt the legal term “hate crime” for the Matthew Shepard case.

Feb 03 2013 | Read Full Review of Thirteen Loops: Race, Violenc...

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