Sally Jenkins

Aired:  07/23/09 Views: 38,864

Sally Jenkins discusses a Mississippi county that seceded from the South during the Civil War and the man who led the insurrection. (5:27)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT A JOURNALIST

AND BEST SELLING AUTHOR.

HER NEW BOOK IS CALLED THE STATE

OF JONES.

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE SHOW SALLY

JENKINS.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

A FASCINATING BOOK.

THE STATE OF JONES ABOUT A

COUNTY IN MISSISSIPPI THAT

ACTUALLY SECEDED FROM THE SOUTH

DURING THE CIVIL WAR.

I DON'T KNOW WHY I HAVEN'T -- I

SAW ALL 18 HOURS OF BURNS

DOCUMENTARY ON THE CIVIL WAR BUT

I DON'T RECALL EVER HEARING

ABOUT THIS.

>> JONES COUNTY DIDN'T FORMALLY

SECEDE, THEY SECEDED

EFFECTIVELY.

IT WAS AN EMBARRASSING EPISODE.

HISTORIANS WROTE IT OUT OF

HISTORY AND WROTE THE MAN WHO

WROTE IT OUT OF HISTORY AS WELL.

IT WAS A DIRT FARM YERK

ANTISLAVERY, PROUNION LOYALIST

WHO WAS REGARDED AS A TRAITOR SO

THE SOUTH PREFERRED TO THINK HE

NEVER EXISTED.

>> Jon: HE DID JOIN THE

CONFEDERATE ARMY.

>> HE WAS DRAFTED, DESERTED

TWICE.

THE SECOND TIME FOR GOOD AND

WENT INTO THE SWAMPS WITH 125

MEN AND LED AN INSURRECTION AND

FOUGHT OFF THE ARMY.

HE WAS MORE BRAVE AFTER THE WAR

DURING RECONSTRUCTION, DURING

THE RACIAL TERRORS.

HE LIVED WAY FORMER SLAVE OWNED

BY HIS FAMILY.

>> Jon: HE HAD TWO FAMILIES A

WHITE FAMILY AND A BLACK FAMILY.

>> HE LIVES WITH RACH YALE

KNIGHT, THE FORMER SLAVE, RAISES

SEVERAL FAMILIES WITH HER.

HE FIGHTS OFF THE KKK AND

SURVIVES AN ASSASSINATION

ATTEMPT.

>> Jon: CRAZY HOW MUCH OF

STORY IS VIGILANTES HARASSING

HIS RELATIVES.

THERE'S A STORY ABOUT HIS UFRPBG

WHO IS MUCH OLDER AND THEY SAY

TO HIS BROTHER, TELL US WHERE HE

IS OR WE'LL KILL YOUR UNCLE.

>> THE CONFED RACY WAS SENDING

UNITS INTO JONES COUNTY TO FLUSH

THEM OUT.

THEY WOULD CAPTURE RELATIVES

PARTICULARLY OLD MEN AND BOYS

AND THREATEN TO HANG THEM OR

EXECUTE THEM.

THEY HUNG SEVERAL -- THREE OR

FOUR YOUNG MEN FROM THE MAGNOLIA

TREES IN THE VICINITY INCLUDING

SOME OF NEWTON KNIGHT'S OLDER

RELATIVES SKWROFRPBLGT IT WAS

FASCINATING WHAT HE SAID ABOUT

HIS OLDER UNCLE.

>> HE HAD AN UNCLE CAPTURED BY

THE CONFEDCY.

THE COUSIN SITS ON A FENCE

DEBATING WHETHER TO COME IN AND

SURRENDER AND HE SAID MY OLD MAN

HAS LIVED LONG ENOUGH.

I HAVE A LONG LIFE TO LIVE.

HE GOES TO NEW ORLEANS AND

FORMERLY ENLISTED IN THE UNION

ARMY.

>> Jon: AND LETS THEM HANG HIS

UNCLE.

>> RIGHT.

AFTER THE WAR ACTUALLY, NEWTON

KNIGHT, THE MAN WHO HUNG SOME OF

HIS RELATIVES BECOMES GOVERNOR

OF MISSISSIPPI IN 1888 -- 1881.

>> Jon: DID HE RUN ON THAT

PLATFORM?

[ LAUGHTER ]

I THINK IT SPEAKS -- ULTIMATELY

THE STORY SPEAKS WELL OF THE

SOUTH AND SPEAKS ILL OF HOW MUCH

WE UNDERSTAND ABOUT IT IN THAT

IT TALKS ABOUT A LOT OF PEOPLE

IN THE CONFEDERACY WERE

ANTISLAVE, DIDN'T THINK IT

SHOULD HAPPEN.

THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE DIDN'T

AGREE WITH THE WAR OR SLAVERY.

>> HAD IS HE SESSION -- SECEDING

BEEN PUT TO A POPULAR VOTE IT

MAY NEVER HAVE HAPPENED.

JONES COUNTY TURNS ON THE

CONSTITUENTS AND VOTES FOR IT

BECAUSE HE SIDES WITH THE

WEALTHY FARMERS WHO WANTED IT.

>> Jon: HOW DID THEY GET THE

CONFEDERATES TO FIGHT SO LONG,

SO HARD AND SO WELL.

>> THE SLAVE ECONOMY IN THE DEEP

SOUTH WAS BIGGER THAN THE

RAILROADS.

THEIR ENTIRE WAY OF LIFE AND THE

ENTIRE ECONOMY WAS AT STAKE P. A

TOWN IN MISSISSIPPI WAS THE

RICHEST IN AMERICA BY FAR.

THE PLANTERS WERE MUCH RICHER

THAN RAILROAD BARONS.

>> Jon: THIS STORY COMES OUT

WHEN THIS GUY IS AN OLD MAN.

A REPORTER THINKS TO HIMSELF YOU

KNOW WHO I WOULD LIKE TO TALK

TO.

>> HE WAS LEGENDARY IN THE DEEP

SOUTH.

NOT AN OBSCURE FIGURE IN THE

MISSISSIPPI.

A HARVARD EDUCATED EASTERN

REPORTER WORKING IN NEW ORLEANS

HEARD THIS STORY AND HE DECIDES

TO GO UP AND FIND HIM ON THE

HILLTOP WHERE HE IS LIVING AS A

SEMI RECLUSE WITH HIS BLACK

FAMILY.

NEWTON KNIGHT WAS INTERVIEWED BY

A NEWSPAPER MAN IN 1921.

WE HAVE THAT AND SEVERAL OTHER

DOCUMENTS WE CAN USE IN THE

BOOK.

MY PARTNER IS A HISTORY

PROFESSOR AT HARVARD.

HE MAINTAINS.

JOHN'S SPECIALTY -- HE IS A

BRILLIANT MAN WHO STUD CANNIES

AND LISTINGISTS MAINTAINS THAT

NEWTON KNIGHT WENT FARTHER THAN

A LOT OF NORTHERN AND

LISTINGISTS.

>> Jon: IT'S A FASCINATING

BOOK.

THE ONE BLUSH YOU CAN TAKE AWAY

FROM THIS IS SUCK ON THIS BURNS.

THE STAT

Loading...