By Alexis Coe

In 1892, the US used to be keen about a teenage murderess, however it wasn't her crime that surprised the nation—it was once her motivation. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had deliberate to cross as a guy so as to marry her seventeen-year-old fiancée Freda Ward, but if their love letters have been came upon, they have been forbidden from ever conversing again.

Freda adjusted to this destiny with an ease that shocked a heartbroken Alice. Her desperation grew with every one unanswered letter—and her father's razor quickly went lacking. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiancée's throat. Her same-sex love used to be deemed insane through her father that very evening, and medical examiners agreed: This used to be a deadly and incurable perversion. because the court used to be improved to house nationwide curiosity, Alice spent months in jail—including the evening that 3 of her fellow prisoners have been lynched (an occasion which captured the eye of journalist and civil rights activist Ida...

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Extra resources for Alice + Freda Forever. A Murder in Memphis

Sample text

She was choosing to follow rules set by another. This was exactly the kind of obedience Alice had repeatedly demanded of Freda, but never fully received. It seemed to suggest that she had not been Freda’s true love at all, but rather just another suitor to trifle with, and then discard as easily as the others. ” Freda was ashamed. She truly wanted their history to be erased, as if it had never happened. However, Alice saw a glimmer of hope, a hint at the end of the letter. Surely Freda would not have divulged her departure had she not wanted Alice to see her off.

So she waited, enduring one anxious, blustery day after another, until finally, darkness descended, and the house fell quiet. If it continued this way, she would miss Freda Ward altogether. But Alice refused to let that happen. She had made a solemn declaration, and she intended to make good on it. In the meantime, she could find no solace in her house, no distraction through sewing or reading. Alice had no interest in food, in eating it or making it, and yet she spent most of her waking hours in the kitchen, where she had hidden the locked box.

Had she still lived there, Alice wrote, she could kiss her, but her visit was instead spent gloomily meandering around the property, collecting ivy and picking roses. Burdened by desperation, Alice’s anger deepened into hopeless melancholy. The long, tortured ruminations in her letter were but a sampling of the thoughts that oppressed her. We will never know exactly how or when Alice and Freda fell in love, but the letter suggests it happened at Miss Higbee’s, when chumming turned into something much more.

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