Fire in a Canebrake
Laura WexlerQuestions and Topics For Discussion
1. There have been many unsolved lynchings in American history. In what ways was the Moore’s Ford lynching similar to other lynchings? In what ways was it different or unique? Why did it generate so much national attention?
2. The Moore’s Ford lynching seems to have stemmed, at the outset, from an argument between Barnette Hester and Roger Malcolm. What other circumstances—political, social, historical, economic—contributed to the lynching and the community’s reaction to it?
3. Wexler has described the summer of 1946 as a time of great possibility, great transition, and great unease in the American South, and particularly in Georgia. What do you think she means by this? How did the events of 1946 shift American attitudes about race and civil rights?
4. The author describes many instances in which “good people” refused to come forth with information about the lynching. What evidence does the author give for their reluctance? What were the differences and similarities in the motivations of blacks and whites for withholding information?
5. Wexler unearths many theories and testimonies about what happened on the day of the lynching. Did any of the accounts ring more true than the others? Do you agree that Loy Harrison was in on the plan?
6. Given the horrific nature of the crime and the fact that race is a