In his book, Gordon Martin focuses on the lives and experiences of courageous black citizens of Forrest County, Mississippi who served as witnesses in United States v. Lynd. The Lynd case (1961-1965) was the first voting rights trial that resulted in conviction of a southern voting registrar for refusal to register black voters. Each of the black witnesses had been refused registration by Theron Lynd. (Lynd had served as the local Forrest County/Hattiesburg registrar since 1955.)
In his role as a young lawyer for the Department of Justice, in 1961 Gordon Martin traveled to Hattiesburg, Mississippi from Washington to meet with the witnesses and prepare them for trial. (In addition, he located white witnesses and served as a lawyer during the trial.)
Decades after the conclusion of the Lynd trial, Gordon Martin returned to Mississippi to interview the surviving black witnesses from the Lynd case.
Martin’s book draws much of its content from these interviews as well as from documented history and his own experiences. It seems likely that at Labyrinth, all of the aspects of Martin’s book will be explored—oral history; documented history; and personal experiences of a young lawyer.
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