She died in jail!!!


O.k. so, I’ve been a slacker when it comes to the library. Everything should be on the internet, right?? But, we all know it’s not. Somethings you’ll actually have to do some leg work to figure out. Today I went to my local library to see what they had as a genealogy collection.

I couldn’t even believe that they have obituaries from 1919-1924 for Elizabeth City, NC. I live in Florida! It’s not like Elizabeth City is a large city. Hell, I think I’m somehow related to every black person there. Anywho…..

This is my 2nd great grandmother, Cora Spence. She died in 1922 in JAIL!!!! That’s something I didn’t even know and none of the elder members knew either.

Cora L. Spence. A 56-year old colored woman of Newland Township, living about 13 miles from town, died last week after having grieved herself sick because she was placed in jail a day or two during the last term of Superior Court in this county, about three or four weeks ago.
The colored woman was held in jail Tuesday to Saturday, having been held as a witness in a case in which her daughter Beunna Temple was involved. She couldn’t understand why a witness should be jailed, and the burden of falling into such disgrace at her age was too much for her. [October 10, 1922, p. 1]

Why in the hell was she being held in jail?? She was only a witness?!?!??!

So in the first paragraph it says ‘a day or two’ and in the second it says ‘ was held in jail Tuesday to Saturday’. Uh…lemme pull out my fingers and count…that is more like 5 days not ‘a day or two’.

Correction 06/12/08

: I received an e-mail today from Irene at library. She stated that “Cora didn’t die in jail but as a result of heartbreak at having been jailed about three weeks earlier”. She’s sending me some pages from the Superior court case from 1922. Hopefully, this will shed some light as to why Beulah was going to court and why her mom, Cora, had to testify.

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