How does my grandmother’s assault become a nationwide story?
Search in Library of Congress’ historical newspaper collection online with the parameters: Stumpf from January 10-20, 1909. You get 63 results. Only a few results don’t belong to my grandmother. The same parameters at the paid subscription site, Newspapers.com yield more results.
Here are some headline clippings that my shed some light.
While I only picked clipping from major cities like New York, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Philadelphia and others, it’s clear that newspapers either focused on either the brutality of the assault or the avoidance of a lynching. Either choice is horrific.
What’s the story? It’s the classic story of opposites. Male v. Female, White v. Black, Rich v. Poor, Pure v. Depraved all wrapped up in the Capital of the Confederacy at the height of Jim Crow. Let’s not forget the knights in shining armor. Mr. Poole who rescued Marie Louise and Judge Witt who prevented the lynching.
Below is a mapcustomizer.com image that gives you an idea of where most of the newspaper reports on the event within the first few days of the assault. The red map pins are some locations of those newspapers.
What more would you want? Except it’s my grandmother’s assault splashed across front pages across the country. Reality TV at it’s worst.