PictureAuthor Josephine Bolling McCall. Courtesy image.

Just weeks before Christmas in 1947, then-five-year-old Josephine Bolling found out that her father, Elmore Bolling, just 39 and the father of seven, had been lynched. Elmore Bolling had been a leader in the black community of Lowndes County, Alabama, establishing himself as a man who volunteered to serve the less fortunate and worked hard to build a small trucking business.

Decades later, Josephine Bolling McCall has turned that horrific experience, coupled with years of research, including interviews with relatives and elderly Lowndes County residents, into a new book. With The Penalty for Success, Bolling McCall tells the story of the murder of a black man in 1940s Alabama, presenting convincing evidence that he was lynched, despite the fact that he was not hanged, mutilated, or burned before a crowd of people – but shot six times with a pistol and once in the back with a shotgun.

Bolling McCall is set to appear at the Outdoor Art Club on Thursday, April 4 to discuss the book and her father’s fight against rampant discrimination in the Jim Crow South to build several successful businesses, making him wealthier than many of his white neighbors, a likely cause for the hatred that ultimately led to his murder.


Elmore Bolling is one of the thousands of African-Americans honored in the new lynching memorial (the National Memorial for Peace and Justice), which opened in Montgomery, Ala., in April 2018. The memorial was erected with donations by the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative.

Bolling seeks to challenge audiences to reconsider lynching as a means by which whites eliminated competition from black business owners as part of a pattern of racist violence that terrorized African Americans for generations.

The 411: Author Josephine Bolling McCall brings her book The Penalty for Success to the Outdoor Art Club on Thursday, April 4 at 1pm. One West Blithedale. Free. Light refreshments will be served.

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