A Peculiar Tribe of People

Un libro in lingua di Hutto Richard Jay edito da Globe Pequot Pr, 2010

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A shocking Southern true crime tale of racism, murder, and taboo sex 


In early 1960, as John F. Kennedy campaigned for the Presidency, as Elvis returned from his stint in the army, Chester Burge—slumlord, liquor runner, and the black sheep of the proud (and wealthy) Dunlap family of Macon, Georgia—lay in a hospital bed, recovering from surgery. He listened to the radio as the news reported that his wife had just been murdered. Chester was eventually charged, and when the trial finally began, the sweet Southern town of Macon witnessed a story of epic proportions; a tale of white-columned mansions, an insane asylum, real people as “Southern grotesque” as the characters of Flannery O’Connor, and a volatile mix of taboo interracial relationships and homosexuality.


This was a story as fantastical as a Greek tragedy, complete with a stunning conclusion. It is told in riveting detail in Richard Jay Hutto’s A Peculiar Tribe of People.


Chester Burge was a walking streak of deception and sex. After weaseling his way to be the caretaker of the last Dunlap sister, and forcing his way into her will, Burge and his wife inherited a fortune as well as one of the family plantations. Then came his numerous affairs with other men—including his chauffeur—and, either single-handedly or with help from a lover, the murder of his wife.


The trial would spawn the first testimony in Georgia history of a black man disclosing that he had been a white man’s sexual partner. Burge would be acquitted of murder, but convicted of sodomy. And this Southern grotesque tale doesn’t end there. . . .


Written in exacting detail with first-hand accounts, and populated by a cast of colorful characters, this masterfully rendered book takes us from the Civil War to the Civil Rights era. It is both a sweeping history of one genteel family and a powerful, redolent tale of the American South.


Richard Jay Hutto is a noted author of several books on the Gilded Age, including Their Gilded Cage: The Jekyll Island Club Members. An attorney and a former chairman of the Georgia Council for the Arts, he lives in Macon, Georgia.

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