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The Charm Offensive takes as its text a testimony from J.S. Underwood, recanting evidence she gave that the African-American William Offett raped her (a white woman), for which he went to prison in 1888. (This text comes from Ida Wells-Barnett’s 1892 exposé on lynching in the New York Age.) In addition to being loaded with post-emancipation guilt, Underwood’s choice of words highlight her sense of affection for Offett – and read a little like love poems.
Text by J.S. Underwood