|Date(s):||July 18, 1892 to July 30, 1892|
|Course:||“Rise And Fall of the Slave South,” University of Virginia|
|Rating:||2 (3 votes)|
On January 25, 1892, Alice Mitchell cut the throat of Freda Ward, her lover, in Memphis, TN. The trial of Alice Mitchell began in Memphis on July 18. Her defense entered a plea of present insanity. Many love letters between Freda and Alice were read at the trial, and Lillie Johnson testified that they had plans to elope. A medical expert believed that Alice Mitchell was a sexual pervert.
On July 27, Alice Mitchell was put on the witness stand, and she described the murder without a trace of remorse. She said that she cut Freda's throat because she couldn't have her. Her statements helped convince the jury of her insanity. On July 30, Alice Mitchell was declared insane by the jury after twenty minutes' deliberation. On this verdict Mitchell was sent to an asylum.
This trial revealed the public's reaction to homosexuality. Through the jury's decision, society was saying that romantic relations between two upper class white women were insane. Alice Mitchell's love for Freda Ward challenged the notion of the traditional white male-dominated households.