Caught Between Two Guns and Hall of MIrrors: Confirmation and Presentist Biases in Continuing Accounts of the Ruby McCollum Story
— C. Arthur Ellis, Jr., Ph.D.
DALTON, GEORGIA, USA, June 19, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — Dr. Ellis, the author of Caught Between Two Guns: The True Crime Story of Ruby McCollum, has appeared in numerous documentaries, including in The Shot Doctor, an episode of A Crime to Remember on the Discovery Channel. He first published an annotated transcript of the murder trial, in which Ruby McCollum, a wealthy African American wife, was tried for shooting her white physician and Florida senator-elect for forcing her to have a second child by him.
Following his work, he was confounded to see that various scholars and film producers had completely altered the story to, as Marnie Hughes-Warrington in Revisionist History explains of such efforts, “to make those in the present aware of poor ethical treatment of individuals and groups in the past.” In short, each of these revisionists attempts to bring their own personal “truths” to the story, while ignoring archival facts.
In Hall of Mirrors, Dr. Ellis, a resident of Live Oak, Florida where the murder occured in August, 1952, recalls the story from his youth, and summons the transcript of the trial, letters written by Ruby McCollum from jail, and contemporary accounts of the story to dispel these revisionist takes on Ruby McCollum’s plight.
Dr. Ellis challenges these subjective tellings of the story with facts that he hopes will shatter the metaphorical hall of mirrors that reaches back in history to reflect cherry-picked facts to support foregone conclusions and personal “truths.”
In the controversial conclusion of the monograph, Dr. Ellis evokes the heroism of Frederick Douglass in the Antebellum South, when a man was considered to be the chattel of his white enslaver, like his horse or his cow. Douglass chose to defy both his master and the laws of the land to gain his freedom.
Dr. Ellis recognizes that Ruby McCollum never rose to the ranks of a Frederick Douglass, but he maintains that she was also an authentic person who created her own values to bring meaning to her life through a steadfact commitment to define herself according to her own terms, regardless of race, class, and gender issues that she faced in the Jim Crow South.
In doing so, and demanding to speak in her own defense at her trial, Dr. Ellis maintains that Ruby McCollum set a legal precedent for an African American woman testifying to being abused and forced to bear a white man’s child. It was truly the trial that shook the foundations of the Segregationist South.
Caught Between Two Guns is available on Amazon:
Hall of Mirrors is available on Amazon:
Hall of Mirrors