By Alexis Coe
In 1892, the USA was once enthusiastic about a teenage murderess, however it wasn't her crime that surprised the nation—it was once her motivation. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had deliberate to move as a guy so that it will marry her seventeen-year-old fiancée Freda Ward, but if their love letters have been found, they have been forbidden from ever conversing again.
Freda adjusted to this destiny with an ease that shocked a heartbroken Alice. Her desperation grew with every one unanswered letter—and her father's razor quickly went lacking. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiancée's throat. Her same-sex love was once deemed insane by means of her father that very evening, and medical examiners agreed: This used to be a perilous and incurable perversion. because the court docket used to be increased to house nationwide curiosity, Alice spent months in jail—including the evening that 3 of her fellow prisoners have been lynched (an occasion which captured the eye of journalist and civil rights activist Ida...
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Extra resources for Alice + Freda Forever. A Murder in Memphis
Alice and Freda had made no attempt to hide their relationship: their kissing and hugging and hand-holding was certainly noted by those around them. But Jo and Lillie were also seen with their arms linked, sharing meaningful glances and speaking in hushed voices. During the Victorian era, proper American women were not to speak of their desire for men, let alone show it, but demonstrative relationships with other women were considered unremarkable. In Memphis, “chumming” was the regional term for intimate female friendships, but it was by no means particular to Eastern Tennessee.
Alice was still jealous and possessive, and Freda as flirtatious as ever. Ashley Roselle, a twenty-three-year-old postmaster from Featherstone, Arkansas, was not the first man to court Freda, but he seemed to be the most serious. And Freda, despite being involved in a clandestine marriage plot with another, did nothing to resist his overtures. If anything, the photograph and letters she sent Ashley’s way did much to quicken his pursuit. Even with eighty miles between them, Alice was no fool. Whenever she visited Golddust, she met as many of Freda’s new friends and neighbors as possible, with an eye toward recruiting informants.
Both Colonel George Gantt and General Luke Wright were affluent, respectable Memphians from old, Southern families. 13 Col. Gantt was considered Memphis’s preeminent litigator, peerless in legal research and unrivaled in courtroom debate. The firm that bore his name was a breeding ground for high level political and business leaders, whose power and wealth gave them an extraordinary degree of influence in the South. Gen. Wright, son of a Tennessee Supreme Court Justice, had a distinct advantage in the case.
Alice + Freda Forever. A Murder in Memphis by Alexis Coe