The Violent World of Broadus Miller

A Story of Murder, Lynch Mobs, and Judicial Punishment in the Carolinas

By Kevin W. Young

252 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 18 halftones, 2 maps, 1 table

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7901-3
    Published: April 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7900-6
    Published: April 2024
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-7902-0
    Published: April 2024

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In the summer of 1927, an itinerant Black laborer named Broadus Miller was accused of killing a fifteen-year-old white girl in Morganton, North Carolina. Miller became the target of a massive manhunt lasting nearly two weeks. After he was gunned down in the North Carolina mountains, his body was taken back to Morganton and publicly displayed on the courthouse lawn on a Sunday afternoon, attracting thousands of spectators.

Kevin W. Young vividly illustrates the violence-wracked world of the early twentieth century in the Carolinas, the world that created both Miller and the hunters who killed him. Young provides a panoramic overview of this turbulent time, telling important contextual histories of events that played into this tragic story, including the horrific prison conditions of the era, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, and the influx of Black immigrants into North Carolina. More than an account of a single murder case, this book vividly illustrates the stormy race relations in the Carolinas during the early 1900s, reminding us that the legacy of this era lingers into the present.

About the Author

Kevin W. Young teaches at Appalachian State University.

For more information about Kevin W. Young, visit the Author Page.


"Young offers insight into the day-to-day racism, violence, and fear that permeated the Carolinas. Thoroughly researched and meticulously documented, this gripping narrative is a truly impressive work of scholarship."—Daniel S. Pierce, University of North Carolina Asheville

"Young’s book presents a compelling, meaningful set of stories that explore the cultures and structures of violence embedded in the Jim Crow Carolinas. He has combed archives, public sources, and newspapers, supplementing these findings with some surprising interviews. An illuminating, if painful, study to read."—Rob Weise, Eastern Kentucky University