The "True Story" of Jasper, Texas

Document Type



The 1998 murder of African American James Byrd, Jr., in Jasper, Texas, activated narrative strategies within the community that sought to give coherence to, or otherwise appropriate and utilize this trauma for a variety of purposes. Via interviews with community civic and religious leaders, and analysis of their public statements to the media, this article uses psychoanalytic and anthropological frameworks to examine the psychological and structural needs to narrate trauma; struggles over whose narrative holds sway; the emerging "story" that Jasper presented to the world in an attempt to define itself and narrate what transpired and why; and implications for the silenced narratives.

Source Data

Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society