After moonrise on the cold night of January 21, 1897, a mob of twenty-five white men gathered in a patch of woods near Big Road in southwestern Simpson County, Kentucky. Half carried rifles and shotguns, and a few tucked pistols in their pants. Their target was George Dinning, a freed slave who'd farmed peacefully in the area for 14 years, and who had been wrongfully accused of stealing livestock from a neighboring farm. When the mob began firing through the doors and windows of Dinning's home, he fired back in self-defense, shooting and killing the son of a wealthy Kentucky family. So began one of the strangest legal episodes in American history — one that ended with Dinning becoming the first Black man in America to win damages after a wrongful murder conviction.
Ben Montgomery is a former enterprise reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and founder of the narrative journalism website Gangrey.com. In 2010, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting and won the Dart Award and Casey Medal for a series called "For Their Own Good," about abuse at Florida's oldest reform school. He lives in Tampa with his children. He is the author of The Man Who Walked Backward, The Leper Spy, and Grandma Gatewood's Walk.
Date & Time
Tue, May 25, 2021 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM