Tag - William Zantzinger; Hattie Carroll; Bob Dylan; “Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”; Baltimore

On Newspapering and Journalism

A Lonesome Death

William Zantzinger’s business card says he is an equal opportunity realtor. DS [hr] From The New Yorker, January 26, 2009 Reprinted with permission.  In February of 1963, twenty-four-year-old William Zantzinger, armed with a toy carnival cane and wrecked on whiskey, made a spectacle of himself at the Spinsters’ Ball at the Emerson Hotel in Baltimore. He was a drunken country mouse in the big city, at a time when the notion of racial equality had barely shown itself in the neighborhood of his father’s tobacco farm. When the hotel’s black waitstaff was slow to serve Zantzinger another drink, he yelled racial epithets at Hattie Carroll, a barmaid and a fifty-one-year-old mother of eleven, and he rapped her on the shoulder with his cane. She became upset, then collapsed and died of a stroke. Bob Dylan read about the case in the newspaper. He wrote the magnificent “Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” with the paper splayed on the table of a Seventh Avenue luncheonette. Zantzinger was...

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