Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson

Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson
Author: 
Genre: 
Language: 
ISBN10: 
0807831557
ISBN13: 
9780807831557
Pages: 
304
Published: 
December 21st 2007 by University of North Carolina Press
Rating: 
3.96

Junius Wilson (1908-2001) spent seventy-six years at a state mental hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina, including six 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.

Using legal records, institutional files, and extensive oral history interviews--some conducted in sign language--Susan Burch and Hannah Joyner piece together the story of a deaf man accused in 1925 of attempted rape, found insane at a lunacy hearing, committed to the criminal ward of the State Hospital for the Colored Insane, castrated, forced to labor for the institution, and held at the hospital for more than seven decades. Junius Wilson's life was shaped by some of the major developments of twentieth-century America: Jim Crow segregation, the civil rights movement, deinstitutionalization, the rise of professional social work, and the emergence of the deaf and disability rights movements. In addition to offering a bottom-up history of life in a segregated mental institution, Burch and Joyner's work also enriches the traditional interpretation of Jim Crow by highlighting the complicated intersections of race and disability as well as of community and language.

This moving study expands the boundaries of what biography can and should be. There is much to learn and remember about Junius Wilson--and the countless others who have lived unspeakable histories.

Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany

Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany

"In March 1947 I was born. My arrival was celebrated within the inner family circle, quietly and anxiously. When I was a year old, my mother married a white German man; a year later my sister was born. We...
Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend

Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend

The ultimate girl-next-door, and one of the most popular Playboy centerfolds, Bettie Page challenged the conservative 1950s, posing as a fierce dominatrix, and earning both a cult underground following and a Senate Committee...
All for a Few Perfect Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora

All for a Few Perfect Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora

There will never be another surfer like Miki "Da Cat" Dora.

All for a Few Perfect Waves is the story of Miki "Da...
Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child

Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raves, "Chef and TV personality Julia Child likely would have delighted in and hooted over this wide-ranging picture-book biography.... Readers young and old will...
Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World

When Temple Grandin was born, her parents knew that she was different. Years later she was diagnosed with autism.
   While Temple’s...
The Essential Works of Helen Keller

The Essential Works of Helen Keller

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a very large anthology, and some people have experienced trouble navigating the work. To find each work in the anthology, you must go to the "Go To" section of your Nook, and then select "...
The Great Safari: The Lives of George and Joy Adamson

The Great Safari: The Lives of George and Joy Adamson

To the world, George and Joy Adamson are the idyllic couple portrayed in the book and movie Born Free. Now, based on close personal acquaintance, interviews, and unrestricted access to their...