John Campbell of Arkansas was arrested for sodomy in 1949. He was charged with two counts involving two different women. Actual court testimonies are used in the telling of this story. According to the author, her main goal is to focus on the changes of laws over the last 60 years.
Ms. Campbell does a great job of sharing the family history with readers. Sometimes there was so much description of many different characters that I found myself getting lost. The testimonies showed contrast to testimonies of today. The author did mention that not all information was available to her, so it left many unanswered questions. This was not any fault of hers; records had been lost, people had passed away. Some speculation was used due to this. I don’t understand why the police started investigating Mr. John Campbell and how they had witnesses to his ‘crime’. He was charged with sodomy which he actually committed oral sex. Sodomy was the word used to group ‘perverse sexual acts’. Times have changed since then. People are able to make their own choices and the business is theirs. They don’t have to worry about being persecuted for their relationships. In this aspect, Ms. Campbell was successful in showing the changes through the years.
Folks in this sleepy Arkansas hill town had no idea what awaited them that hot June day in 1949. Women went shopping, professors lectured their college classes, and milkmen delivered their wares. They might have missed the report of this scandalous event. So charged were the words required to describe it, the news wouldn't make the front page. Instead, hidden on Page 6 between random items of little interest, a tiny notice announced the beginning of a crime and a mystery: "Charges of sodomy were filed late this morning in Circuit Court against John Campbell and Mrs. Mary Henry." What was the "horrible crime not fit to be named among Christians" which brought policemen to Mr. Campbell's home? What led to this disturbing discovery? What would become of the young women involved? This true account tracks indictments, court records, family history, and newspaper articles to tell an outrageous story of zealous lawmen and personal tragedy, and illuminates a tremendous social change which has occurred since 1950.