The Crime of Ruby McCollum

The Crime of Ruby McCollum by William Bradford Huie

Ruby McCollum, born Ruby Jackson (August 31, 1909 – May 23, 1992), was a wealthy married African-American woman in Live Oak, Florida, who is known for being arrested and convicted in 1952 for killing Dr. C. Leroy Adams, a prominent white doctor and state senator–elect. The judge restricted her testimony, but she did testify as to their sexual relationship and his paternity of her child. The judge prohibited her from recounting her allegations that Adams had repeatedly raped her, and forced her to bear his children. She was sentenced to death for his murder by an all-white jury. The sensational case was covered widely in the United States press (including press report written by Zora Neale Hurston, as well as by international papers). McCollum was subjected to a gag order. Her case was appealed and overturned by the State Supreme Court.

Before the second trial, McCollum was examined and found mentally incompetent to stand trial. She was committed to the state mental hospital (Florida State Hospital) at Chattahoochee, Florida. In 1974 her attorney, Frank Cannon, obtained her release under the Baker Act, as she was not considered a danger to herself or others.

In the 21st century, McCollum and her case received renewed attention, with books and four film documentaries exploring the issues of race, class, sexual violence, gender, and corruption in local politics from a modernist perspective. McCollum’s case is considered a landmark trial by these people in the struggle for civil rights as they believe she was the first black woman to testify against a white man’s sexual abuse and paternity of their child. It is considered to have helped change attitudes about the practice of “paramour rights”. McCollum’s attorney, Releford McGriff, became part of a team who worked to change Florida’s Jim Crow practice of selecting all-white juries. (Black people were still disenfranchised at that time and thus not eligible to serve as jurors, who were limited to voters.)

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The Crime of Ruby McCollum by William Bradford Huie

A Grey Arrow paperback published in 1959 (1st edition) I have not read the book so I don’t know how sympathetic to the subject the book is. I have to admit to knowing nothing of this case that is so topical now as the right in the USA are reintroducing Jim Crow laws. This is a near fine edition of a rare book. Price includes UK Posting – For other postal rates to more distant locations please contact me. I will apply a discount for simultaneous purchases, If I remember.

£26.50

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