News & Events
Prof. Davies to Discuss Book at Two Aug. 11 Events
July 30, 2010
Contact: Barbara Peck, (614) 292-0283
Aug. 11, 2010 marks the 89th anniversary of the murder of Father James Coyle in Birmingham, Ala. The 1921 killing and the murder trial that ensued gathered national attention and would become one of the most notorious criminal cases of the day. In her new book, Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America, Professor Sharon Davies brings to life a heinous crime and its aftermath, in a brilliant, in-depth examination of the consequences of prejudice in the Jim Crow era.
On Aug. 11, Davies will take part of two events. From 10-11 a.m., Davies will discuss Rising Road on “All Sides with Ann Fisher” on WOSU. The show can be heard in the Columbus area by tuning to 820 AM, or by visiting http://www.wosu.org/allsides/. In the evening, Davies will be reading from the book during a Thurber House Summer Literary Picnic. To read more about the event or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.thurberhouse.org/events/picnics.html.
In Rising Road, Davies recounts the revenge murder of Catholic priest, James Coyle, by a minister named Edwin Stephenson. Stephenson was upset that Coyle had married Stephenson's 18-year-old daughter Ruth – who had secretly converted to Catholicism three months earlier – to Pedro Gussman, a Puerto Rican migrant and practicing Catholic.
Having all but disappeared from historical memory, the murder of Father Coyle and the trial of Rev. Stephenson that followed are vividly resurrected by Davies. The case laid bare all the bigotries of its time and place: a simmering hatred not only of African Americans, but of Catholics and foreigners as well. Davies does a fascinating job of placing this story in its full social and historical context.
Davies, who joined The Ohio State University Moritz in 1995, is the John C. Elam/Vorys Sater Designated Professor of Law. A specialist in criminal law and procedure, she has published widely in prominent law journals and served as chairperson of the Criminal Justice Section of the Association of American Law Schools. She received a Senior Faculty Fellowship from Ohio State's Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity to support her research for this book.