THE LYNCHING TREE
She was born to song and the complications of a great art, but few in those days would have believed it."
Aggie Ronsville is the daughter of sharecroppers on an Arkansas cotton plantation. Her mother has died and Aggie is alone with her lecherous step-father and half-brothers. Abandoned by her childhood sweetheart, Douglas (Dugger) Bucklaw, the plantation owner's son, she is pregnant after being raped by her cousin Ferd. Dugger recently returned from a European sabbatical with his ex-Jesuit tutor, and, it’s rumored, has been thoroughly corrupted.
Prohibition has made whiskey a source of wealth and cause for violence among competing moonshiners. A sharecropper rebellion is fomented by the power-hungry sheriff, aided by Dugger’s adopted sister, Phyllis. Aggie warns Dugger of the conspiracy. Fred Allerton, a young Black agitator, plans to keep ahead of the Klan and escape to New York City to write a play, called The Lynching Tree, an exposé of the Bucklaws.
The uprising begins, and the Bucklaws are marked for death. Dynamite for blowing up the cotton gin has been stored under Lossie Ronsville’s deathbed. During this long night of the hunted, Aggie and Phyllis become deeply involved in the deadly rebellion that will change all their lives forever.