The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era

1. What were some of the political and social changes that had occurred in New Orleans by 1870? What did Reconstruction have to do with those changes? 2. How had Reconstruction affected policing in the city? 3. How had Reconstruction affected the administration of justice in courts? 4. How did Reconstruction shape the press coverage and public reaction to the kidnapping of Mollie Digby? 5. How do you explain the outcome of the trial in the Digby kidnapping case? Do you think the jury reached the right verdict? Explain your answer. 6. Ross writes that the outcome of the trial suggests that “Reconstruction remained a moment of possibility” in 1870 (233). What does he mean by this? What do you think about that claim? 7. As you conclude, comment on Ross’s observation near the beginning of the book that learning about the Digby case can help a reader understand “both how Reconstruction might have succeeded and why it failed.”