Author uncovers long lost dark family secret
by Lynn Lofton
Published: October 29,2012
With so many compelling – and sometimes harrowing – stories in Mississippi, it is proven over and over that truth really is stranger than fiction. Delving into dark family mysteries is not for the faint of heart, but Molly Walling tackles it full-on with this story of a closely held, 60-year-old family secret. It undoubtedly is a story some of her relatives would have rather she’d left undisturbed. Certainly many who read this book will recall the events and rumors chronicled in Death in the Delta.
The tragic secret began on Dec. 12, 1946, with the murder of two black men in Anguilla, deep in the Mississippi Delta. Growing up, Walling did not understand the source of the dark and intense discomfort in her family home. In 2006, she discovered her father’s complicity in the murder of those men in 1946. Thus began her search for the truth behind the family secret.
Though Walling’s mother and father wanted to protect their three children from that past with its secret, its effect was profound. When the story of a fatal shootout surfaced, apprehension turned into a devouring need to know.
Each of Walling’s trips from her home in North Carolina to the Delta brought unsettling and unexpected clues. After a hearing before an all-white grand jury, her father’s case was not prosecuted. It appeared as if the incident never happened, and he resumed his life as a small town newspaper editor.
However, family members of one of the victims tell Walling their stories. A 93-year-old black historian and witness gives context and advice. A county attorney suggests her family’s history of commingling with black women was at the heart of the deadly confrontation. The author recognizes how privilege, entitlement and racial bias in a wealthy, landed Southern family resulted in a deadly abuse of power followed by a stifling, decades-long cover-up.
Certainly it had to be painful for Walling to make this story public, but her mission became one of hope that confronting the truth might somehow move others toward healing and reconciliation.
The author lives in Asheville, N.C., where she is an adjunct writing instructor at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. She was born in Anguilla.
To sign up for Mississippi Business Daily Updates, click here.
FOLLOW THE MBJ ON TWITTERMy Tweets
Twang & Tourism: The Country Music Trail
Top Posts & Pages
- Officials set hunting dates for birds; expands dove season by 20 days
- REVVING UP — Motorcars of Jackson is preparing to open its first-ever showroom on I-55
- TECH 21 — Mississippi's most wanted in technology
- Mississippi judge dismisses lawsuit seeking to overturn Sen. Cochran's GOP primary win
- FLIPPING OUT — Flipping houses is popular in much of the country, but in Mississippi ...
- Judge expected to rule today on McDaniel's challenge of loss to Cochran
- Isle of Capri reports decreased in-state revenues; experiencing 'market pressures'
- Circuit clerks question how to get records to McDaniel's trial
- Chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto are dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ‘t’ in the development of Seafood R’evolution, which is set to open in November