The Lynching of Louie Sam

The Lynching of Louie Sam


By (author) Elizabeth Stewart


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Hardback $21.95
  • Publisher: ANNICK PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 188mm x 18mm | 1,361g
  • Publication date: 21 June 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Toronto
  • ISBN 10: 155451438X
  • ISBN 13: 9781554514380
  • Sales rank: 1,091,589

Product description

"Racism, murder, and injustice wreak havoc in a frontier town." "Without a word, Father pulled me up behind him into the saddle. I kept my face buried in his back so I wouldn't have to see Louie Sam again. But I saw him in my mind, anyway. I will see him there forever." Between 1882 and 1968 there were 4,742 lynchings in the United States. In Canada during the same period there was one--the hanging of American Indian Louie Sam. The year is 1884, and 15-year-old George Gillies lives in the Washington Territory, near the border with British Columbia. In this newly settled land, white immigrants have an uneasy relationship with the Native Indians. When George and his siblings discover the murdered body of a local white man, suspicion immediately falls on a young Indian named Louie Sam. George and his best friend, Pete, follow a lynch mob north into Canada, where the terrified boy is seized and hung. But even before the deed is done, George begins to have doubts. Louie Sam was a boy, only 14--could he really be a vicious murderer? Were the mob leaders motivated by justice, or were they hiding their own guilt? As George uncovers the truth--implicating Pete's father and other prominent locals--tensions in the town rise, and he must face his own part in the tragedy. But standing up for justice has devastating consequences for George and his family. Inspired by the true story of the lynching, recently acknowledged as a historical injustice by Washington State, this powerful novel offers a stark depiction of historical racism and the harshness of settler life. The story will provoke readers to reflect on the dangers of mob mentality and the importance of speaking up for what's right.

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Author information

Elizabeth Stewart's writing credits for film, television, and the Internet include the TV movie "Luna: Spirit of the Whale" (2007) and the series "Falcon Beach," "Edgemont," and "The Adventures of Shirley Holmes." This is her first novel. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Review quote

Based on a true story, two white teenage boys witness the lynching of an innocent Indian boy named Louie Sam when a mob is whipped into a killing frenzy... After a local man is murdered and his cabin set on fire, there is testimony that a teenage Indian was seen on the road nearby. As George and Dave watch from the edges of the proceedings, they see that some facts don't add up. But it is only after Louie Sam is dead that George tries to stand up for the truth. This novel is a powerful fictionalization of a poignant story... valuable for middle school units on westward expansion or for the study of discrimination against Native Americans. Recommended.--Karen Perry, Educational Reviewer, High Point, Nor"Library Media Connection" (04/01/2013)