The Color of Night
Race, Railroaders, and Murder in the Wartime West
General Trade : Age (years) from 0 - 99
HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Pacific Northwest
Nov 15, 2015
152.4 x 228.6 x 17.78 mm | 600 gr
Oregon State University Press
This rigorously researched account of the 1943 murder trial of Robert
Folkes will appeal to anyone interested in the history of racial
injustice, labor relations, working conditions, and attitudes toward
the death penalty in the first half of the 20th century.
On an unusually cold January night in 1943, Martha James was murdered on a train in rural Oregon, near the town of Albany, in Linn County. She was young, White, Southern, and newly married to a Navy pilot. Despite inconsistent and contradictory eyewitness accounts, a young Black cook by the name of Robert Folkes, a trainman from South Central Los Angeles, was charged with the crime. Folkes’ trial and controversial conviction – resulting in his execution by the state of Oregon – captured national attention and reshaped how Oregonians and others in the West thought about race, class, and privilege.