Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Local Author/Photographer T.J. Ray Set For Book Signing This Evening At 5

This evening, Tuesday, March 29 at 5 p.m., HottyToddy.com’s affable photo contributor TJ Ray is set to unleash his second passion on the world by reading from and signing his new book, Side by Side: Moonshine and Murder in Mississippi at Off Square Books. The event is free and open to the public.

Local author and photographer TJ Ray will read from and sign his new book, 'Side by Side: Moonshine and Murder in Mississippi' at Off Square Books tonight at 5. Photo courtesy of TJ Ray
Local author and photographer TJ Ray will read from and sign his new book, ‘Side by Side: Moonshine and Murder in Mississippi’ at Off Square Books tonight at 5.
Photo courtesy of TJ Ray
According to Amazon.com: Dr. Ray earned his BA and MA in English from Mississippi College and his PhD from the University of Oregon. He taught English literature and grammar at Ole Miss for 30 years and was a member of the National Council of Teachers of English, the Mississippi Philological Association, and many other organizations. Now retired, Ray pursues photography, working with his 1903 printing press and exploring Oxford’s rich history.

The following summary can be found on the book jacket:
In Oxford, Mississippi, the dawn of the 20th century seemed to present a sweeping landscape of progress and possibility. But under this veneer of technological advancement, cultural achievement, and prosperity lurked a stubborn core of racial discrimination, rampant criminal brutality, and violence.

'Side by Side: Moonshine and Murder in Mississippi' book cover.
‘Side by Side: Moonshine and Murder in Mississippi’ book cover.
On a Sunday morning in 1901, the mutilated corpses of two federal marshals were discovered in the smoldering remains of the home of a notorious local malefactor. The murders, committed by moonshiner and counterfeiter Will Mathis and his father-in-law’s servant Orlando Lester, captivated the nation. The crimes ignited a manhunt, a trial marked by desperate lies and legerdemain, and a media frenzy around the hanging of a white man and a black man side by side.

This enthralling account centers on two men—judged unequal in life but equal in death. The story draws on primary sources to craft a spellbinding narrative of singular immediacy and vitality. With the consummate skill of a master raconteur, author T. J. Ray powerfully evokes an era, a community, and its people.

Don’t miss this one, folks. Dr. Ray is always good for decent story or two and possibly an anecdote to help steer you on whatever path you travel. After all, that’s how he rolls.

Side by Side: Moonshine and Murder in Mississippi can be found on Amazon.com by searching T.J. Ray in the navigation tab or at Off Square Books this evening at his signing.

Dr. TJ Ray at work on his 1903 printing press. Photo courtesy of TJ Ray
Dr. TJ Ray at work on his 1903 printing press.
Photo courtesy of TJ Ray

Jeff McVay is a staff writer and graphic designer for Hottytoddy.com. He can be reached at jeff.mcvay@hottytoddy.com.

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