Many African Americans living along the banks of North Florida’s Suwannee River still refuse to eat catfish caught from its murky waters, knowing that these bottom feeders had at some point dined on the decaying corpses of their lynched relatives.
This book chronicles how bolita, from its birth in segregationist Suwannee County in the 1930s to its death in the 1950s, spilled Blood on the Suwannee.
Bolita’s first casualty was the surreptitious murder of a prominent white bolita queen in the 1930s that inadvertently led to the expansion of bolita and bootleg liquor in the county.
The second casualty—the untimely drowning death of fifteen-year-old Willie James Howard at the hands of Klansmen for the crime of sending a Christmas card to a white girl—is the little-known legacy of an African American Everyman in the segregationist South.
The third casualty is the nationally publicized 1952 murder of Dr. C. LeRoy Adams, a white physician and state senator-elect, by Ruby McCollum, the black wife of the county’s bolita king.