Ben Montgomery and James Chapin: A Talk About Florida & Southern History

Head shot photos of Ben Montgomery and James Chapin

In collaboration with Bookstore1Sarasota, we are pleased to bring this exciting event to you!

Ben Montgomery and James Chapin: A Talk About Florida & Southern History

Ben Montgomery is the author of the historical investigation A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South. James Chapin is the author of the debut novel Ride South Until the Sawgrass, a Western tale transplanted to the Florida frontier.

  • Date: Tuesday, April 6, 2021
  • Time: 7 PM ET
  • Registration is required via EVENTBRITE
  • Watch: via Zoom

If you elect to attend, we will email you on morning of the event with the link to attend this virtual event.

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About A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South:

After moonrise on the cold night of January 21, 1897, a mob of twenty-five white men gathered in a patch of woods near Big Road in southwestern Simpson County, Kentucky. Half carried rifles and shotguns, and a few tucked pistols in their pants. Their target was George Dinning, a freed slave who'd farmed peacefully in the area for 14 years, and who had been wrongfully accused of stealing livestock from a neighboring farm. When the mob began firing through the doors and windows of Dinning's home, he fired back in self-defense, shooting and killing the son of a wealthy Kentucky family.

So began one of the strangest legal episodes in American history — one that ended with Dinning becoming the first Black man in America to win damages after a wrongful murder conviction.

Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Ben Montgomery resurrects this dramatic but largely forgotten story, and the unusual convergence of characters.

Ben Montgomery is a former enterprise reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and founder of the narrative journalism website Gangrey.com. In 2010, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting and won the Dart Award and Casey Medal for a series called "For Their Own Good," about abuse at Florida's oldest reform school. He lives in Tampa with his children. He is the author of The Man Who Walked BackwardThe Leper Spy, and Grandma Gatewood's Walk.

About Ride South Until the Sawgrass:

From the moment Nat Quinto and his wife Lucy set foot in the Florida Territory, they can't seem to steer clear of Jake Primrose, a rancher whose schemes to increase his already plentiful wealth ensnare everyone around him. Between Primrose's greed and the brutal conflicts brewing in the Territory surrounding them, will the Quinto family be able to stay true to themselves?

In four tales, the paths of the Primrose and Quinto families cross, separate, and inevitably intertwine in this virtuosic debut set during the tumultuous years of the Florida Territory's Second Seminole War and early statehood.

Janisee Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, says of the book "James Chapin brings a fraught era and place into electrifying focus in this thrilling and torrential southern. He is definitely a writer to watch."

James Chapin is a writer from Florida. His work has been published in SlateImage JournalThe Millions, and the Tampa Bay Times. He currently lives in Athens, Georgia with his wife and their animals, though they are plotting a return to the Sunshine State in the very near future.

Event address: 
Online via Zoom
A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South Cover Image
$22.40
ISBN: 9780316535540
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Spark - January 26th, 2021

The sensational true story of George Dinning, a freed slave, who in 1899 joined forces with a Confederate war hero in search of justice in the Jim Crow south. “Taut and tense.


Ride South Until the Sawgrass Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781941360477
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lanternfish Press - October 27th, 2020

From the moment Nat Quinto and his wife Lucy set foot in the Florida Territory, they can't seem to steer clear of Jake Primrose, a rancher whose schemes to increase his already plentiful wealth ensnare everyone around him.

Between Primrose's greed and the brutal conflicts brewing in the Territory surrounding them, will the Quinto family be able to stay true to themselves?