Hybrid | In the Pines with Grace Elizabeth Hale

 image contains the cover of In the Pines with a headshot of author Grace Elizabeth Hale

Award-winning historian Grace Elizabeth Hale discusses her book In the Pines: A Lynching, A Lie, A Reckoning.

This is a hybrid event with limited in-store seating and the option to attend online. The event is free but registration is required for both in-person and virtual attendance. 

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In this “courageous and compelling … essential and critically important” book (Bryan Stevenson), an award-winning scholar of white supremacy tackles her toughest research assignment yet: the unsolved murder of a Black man in rural Mississippi while her grandfather was the local sheriff—a cold case that sheds new light on the hidden legacy of racial terror in America.

Grace Hale was home from college when she first heard the family legend. In 1947, while her beloved grandfather had been serving as a sheriff in the Piney Woods of south-central Mississippi, he prevented a lynch mob from killing a Black man who was in his jail on suspicion of raping a white woman—only for the suspect to die the next day during an escape attempt. It was a tale straight out of To Kill a Mockingbird, with her grandfather as the tragic hero. This story, however, hid a dark truth.

Years later, as a rising scholar of white supremacy, Hale revisited the story about her grandfather and Versie Johnson, the man who died in his custody. The more she learned about what had happened that day, the less sense she could make of her family's version of events. With the support of a Carnegie fellowship, she immersed herself in the investigation. What she discovered would upend everything she thought she knew about her family, the tragedy, and this haunted strip of the South—because Johnson's death, she found, was actually a lynching. But guilt did not lie with a faceless mob.

A story of obsession, injustice, and the ties that bind, In the Pines casts an unsparing eye over this intimate terrain, driven by a deep desire to set straight the historical record and to understand and subvert white racism, along with its structures, costs, and consequences—and the lies that sustain it. 

Grace Elizabeth Hale is the Commonwealth Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Virginia. An award-winning historian and internationally recognized expert on modern American culture and the regional culture of the U.S. South, she has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Scholar, Slate, and CNN’s website, and has appeared as an expert on southern history on CNN, C-Span, and PBS. A recent Carnegie Fellow, she has also received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the National Humanities Center, the Gilder Lehrman Foundation, the American Historical Association, and the American Association of University Women. The author of three previous books, including Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940. She lives in Charlottesville, VA.


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In-store and virtual attendance options
Books: 
In the Pines: A Lynching, A Lie, A Reckoning By Grace Elizabeth Hale, John Grisham (Foreword by) Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780316564748
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - November 7th, 2023

Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture By Grace Elizabeth Hale Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781469664057
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: University of North Carolina Press - February 1st, 2021

Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940 By Grace Elizabeth Hale Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780679776208
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 1st, 1999

$0.00
SKU: x672389
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