Mary Wilson: Black Women and Self Defense in the Jim Crow Era

Mary Wilson: Black Women and Self Defense in the Jim Crow Era

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Author/Contributor(s): Ash, Jen
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Date: 02/27/2024
Binding: Paperback
Condition: NEW
This zine is about Mary Wilson, a 37-year-old Black woman who confessed to the murder of a white military officer at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in 1913. While many of the details of this case are still unknown, Mary Wilson's story sheds light on the ways Black women were and continue to be forced to navigate systems of state violence that were/are deeply and historically interwoven with the legacy of slavery and the rise of the prison industrial complex in the post-emancipation United States. Time and again, when Black women have defended themselves against interpersonal violence, they have been subjected to more violence at the hands of the state, and for many, at the hands of vigilanties. Mary Wilson's case is indicative of these patterns of violence but is also unique because she was not found guilty. Instead, Mary was eventually allowed to go free based on a claim of self-defense. This story provides a fascinating glimpse into an individual life story that many people can identify with in the present day, as well as a broader historical view of race, gender, sexuality, and the state.