New Book Explores Murder and Race in the Gothic South

Author Karen Cox talks about her book “Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South.”

Laura Weber Davis/WDET

A new book explores the many layers of societal intrigue and racial injustice that surrounded a 1932 murder in Natchez, Mississippi.

Goat Castle explores what happened in the Gothic South when two white eccentrics hired a black man to rob their neighbor at her estate. It places the narrative in the context of race and racial tension — both historic, and modern.

The book’s author is Karen Cox, a professor of history at University of North Carolina. She speaks with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson about her book and the city in which the story unfolds.

“What originally attracted that story to me was sort of the wackiness of it, these eccentric people, and a real southern Gothic story, but it was true, it wasn’t fiction, it wasn’t Faulkner,” says Cox.

“But as I delved into it further, I recognized that the real story and the story that had been lost was the story of racial injustice that was embedded in this and that I needed to figure it out.”

Cox will discuss the book Monday at 3 p.m. in Ann Arbor at the Keene Theater on the University of Michigan’s campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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