In 1835, the city of Washington simmered with racial tension as newly freed African Americans from the South poured in, outnumbering slaves for the first time. Among the enslaved was nineteen-year-old Arthur Bowen, who stumbled home drunkenly one ni......more
In 1835, the city of Washington simmered with racial tension as newly freed African Americans from the South poured in, outnumbering slaves for the first time. Among the enslaved was nineteen-year-old Arthur Bowen, who stumbled home drunkenly one night, picked up an axe, and threatened his owner, respected socialite Anna Thornton. Despite no blood being shed, Bowen was eventually arrested and tried for attempted murder by district attorney Francis Scott Key, but not before news of the incident spread like wildfire. Within days Washington’s first race riot exploded as whites, fearing a slave rebellion, attacked the property of free blacks. One of their victims was gregarious former slave and successful restaurateur Beverly Snow, who became the target of the mob’s rage. With Snow-Storm in August, Jefferson Morley delivers readers into an unknown chapter in history with an absorbing account of this uniquely American battle for justice.
Jefferson Morley is the D.C. editor of Salon. He has worked as an editor and reporter at The Washington Post, The Nation, The New Republic, and Harper’s.
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