About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for The Rope: A True Story of Murder, Heroism, and the Dawn of the NAACP

Greetings from the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to today’s virtual book talk with Alex Tresniowski ,author of The Rope.

Before we begin, though, I’d like to tell you about two upcoming programs you can view on our YouTube channel.

On Thursday, February 11, at 5 p.m., Paul and Stephen Kendrick will be here to tell us about their new book, Nine Days, which chronicles the arrest of Martin Luther King, Jr., in Georgia, just weeks before the 1960 Presidential election and how the Kennedy and Nixon campaigns dealt with it.

And on Tuesday, February 16, at noon, Robert Watson will discuss his new book, George Washington’s Final Battle, which describes Washington’s active role in choosing the location of a new capital on the shores of the Potomac.

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In recounting the true-crime story of the investigation into a 1910 murder of a child in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Alex Tresniowski also introduces the reader to the tireless work of anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett. She began her campaign in the early 1890s, writing articles, pamphlets, letters, and petitions to bring attention to this horrific practice and lobbying for its end.

In the National Archives, her words are preserved in writings sent to Congress and the President, calling for anti-lynching laws and aid for the families of victims.

At the end of the first decade of the 20th century, lynching was still a real threat for African Americans, especially those suspected of crimes, like the accused man in the Asbury Park murder. But at the same time, Wells-Barnett and other Black leaders founded the NAACP to advance justice for African Americans.

Today Alex Tresniowski will share with us the parallel stories of a historical murder investigation and the activism of Ida B. Wells-Barnett and the NAACCP.

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Alex Tresniowski is the author or co-author of more than 20 books, including six New York Times bestsellers. His 2011 book An Invisible Thread, spent more than 40 weeks on the Times bestseller list and won a prestigious Christopher Award for works “that affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” In 2005, Alex co-authored The Vendetta, the story of FBI Special Agent Melvin Purvis, the G-man who caught John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Baby Face Nelson. One of his most recent books, 2017’s The Foundling, is the basis of a CNN Films documentary called The Lost Sons, which is currently in production.

Now let’s hear from Alex Tresniowski. Thank you for joining us today.