Synopses & Reviews
Junius Wilson (1908-2001) spent 76 years at a state mental hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina, including 6 in the criminal ward. He had never been declared insane by a medical professional or found guilty of any criminal charge. But he was deaf and black in the Jim Crow South. Unspeakable is the story of his life. In addition to offering a bottom-up history of life in a segregated mental institution, Burch and Joyner's biography also enriches the traditional interpretation of Jim Crow by highlighting the complicated intersections of race and disability as well as of community and language.
Ã¢â‚¬Å"[A] brisk and compelling narrative that proves surprisingly uplifting.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
This is an extraordinarily important book.
Ã¢â‚¬â€�David Cecelski, coeditor of Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy
"A heart-rending story of race and disability in the Jim Crow South."
-- American History
'[A] brisk and compelling narrative that proves surprisingly uplifting.'
'" Star News
"Adroitly untangle[s] the twisted web of race, class, gender, and disability that ensnared Wilson for much of his life. . . . A significant contribution to African American history and the burgeoning fields of deaf and disability histories. . . . A remarkable and humane study."
-H-Net Reviews "Extensively documented. . . . A well-researched history book that sensitively documents the life of one black, deaf man but seeks to instruct us all."
-Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education "Remarkable. . . . In large part, a history of the changing culture in North Carolina, the change in treatment of the deaf, and the political developments of the nation. . . . A fine and worthy book."
-The Journal of American History "[A] brisk and compelling narrative that proves surprisingly uplifting."
-Star News "A heart-rending story of race and disability in the Jim Crow South."
-American History "Highly recommended."
-CHOICE This is an extraordinarily important book.
-David Cecelski, coeditor of Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy
About the Author
Susan Burch has taught history at Gallaudet University; Charles University, Czech Republic; and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She is author of Signs of Resistance: American Deaf Cultural History, 1900 to World War II. Hannah Joyner is an independent scholar and author of From Pity to Pride: Growing Up Deaf in the Old South.