top of page
HELL5--Manning portrait_edited_edited_ed

                       THE 1921
MURDER FARM MASSACRE  
        AND THE HORROR
            OF AMERICA'S
       SECOND SLAVERY

   Hell  Put to      Shame

One Sunday morning in the spring of 1921, a small boy made a grim discovery as he played on a riverbank in the cotton country of rural Georgia:

the bodies of two drowned men, bound together

with wire and chain and weighted with a

hundred-pound sack of rocks.

     Within days a third body turned up in another nearby river, and in the weeks that followed, eight others. And with them a deeper horror emerged: all eleven had been kept in virtual slavery before their deaths. In fact, as America was shocked to learn, the dead were among thousands of Black men enslaved throughout the South in conditions every bit as dire as those before the Civil War.

PROPULSIVE . . . THE EASE OF READING SWIFT'S EFFICIENT PROSE BELIES ITS ELEGANCE . . . THIS IS A MUST READ. -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

     Hell Put to Shame tells the forgotten story of that mass killing and of the revelations about peonage, or debt slavery, that it placed before a public satisfied that involuntary servitude had ended at Appomattox more than fifty years before.

AN OUTSTANDING AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BLEND OF HISTORY, POLICE PROCEDURAL, AND COURTROOM DRAMA. -- Library Journal

     The result is a story that remains fresh and relevant a century later, as the nation continues to wrestle with seemingly intractable challenges in matters of race and justice. And the 1921 case at its heart argues that the forces that so roil society today have been with us for generations.

HELL PUT TO SHAME IS A POWERFULLY UNSETTLING PORTRAIT OF THE SINGLE MOST SAVAGE EPISODE IN THE LONG DECADES OF SAVAGERY INFLICTED BY WHITE SOUTHERNERS ON THEIR BLACK NEIGHBORS IN THE 20TH CENTURY--AND THE METHODICAL PROCESS THAT FOLLOWED TO ERASE THOSE CRIMES FROM AMERICA'S COLLECTIVE MEMORY.
-- Douglas A. Blackmon, author of Slavery by Another Name
IF KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON COULD SOMEHOW BE FUSED WITH THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY AND DJANGO UNCHAINED, YOU MIGHT GET SOME IDEA OF THE SCOPE OF THE EVIL THAT EARL SWIFT HAS SO CAREFULLY DOCUMENTED IN CHILLING AND ENRAGING DETAIL, MUCH OF IT RENDERED IN INCREDIBLY VIVID SCENES OF COURTROOM DRAMA.
-- Hampton Sides, author of Hellhound On His Trail
A GRIPPING, MEMORABLE WORK THAT WHOLLY CONFRONTS A HELLISH PAST THAT CONTINUES TO BLEED INTO THE PRESENT . . . UNFLINCHING.
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
SHINES A POWERFUL LIGHT ON THE PRACTICE OF DEBT SLAVERY . . . A BLUNT PORTRAIT OF THE RACIAL INJUSTICE COURSING THROUGH AMERICA AND OF THE ORGANIZATIONS THAT ROSE TO FIGHT IT.
-- New York Times

​FOLLOW ME

  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
bottom of page