A dirty old bastard finally goes to meet his lord

And no, it ain’t Jesus for this racist SOB:

William Devereux Zantzinger, the Southern Maryland tobacco farmer convicted of manslaughter in the death of barmaid Hattie Carroll in a celebrated 1963 case, died Jan. 3, according to the Brinsfield-Echols Funeral Home in Charlotte Hall. He was 69.

No cause of death was reported. His burial was today.

The victim in that case, a 51-year-old black barmaid at Baltimore’s old Emerson Hotel, died after being struck with a 26-cent carnival cane used by Zantzinger after he complained that she was slow in bringing a drink he had ordered at a society ball there. Carroll, the mother of 11 children, had a history of heart problems. Zantzinger was convicted of manslaughter, fined $500 and given a six-month sentence.

His trial, held in Hagerstown at the height of the civil rights movement, was the subject of many news stories and gained national attention in a Bob Dylan song, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.”

Zantzinger made news again in 1991 when he charged rent for ramshackle properties he no longer owned. Charles County State’s Attorney Leonard Collins charged him with one count of unfair and deceptive trade practices, accusing Zantzinger of making “false and misleading oral and written statements” in his rental arrangement with a couple who formerly lived in Patuxent Woods, a community of houses without indoor plumbing.

Zantzinger owned Patuxent Woods properties until May 1986, when the county foreclosed on the half-dozen houses because of his failure to pay more than $18,000 in property taxes and penalties. Court documents said he continued to charge residents rent, sometimes taking them to court when payments were overdue, according to court records.

Read this, and tell me if you don’t think he deserved all he got and more:

According to press accounts of Zantzinger’s trial, he and his wife arrived at the ball, a charity event called the Spinsters’ Ball, at the Emerson Hotel on Friday evening, February 8, 1963. He was in top hat, white tie, and tails, attire with which a cane is optional. Unlike other guests, Zantzinger didn’t check his cane at the door because, as he said, “I was having lots of fun with it, tapping everybody.” Tapping turned to hitting; a bellboy named George Gessell said Zantzinger struck him on the arm, and a waitress named Ethel Hill said Zantzinger argued with her and struck her several times across the buttocks. At about 1:30 a.m., he ordered a drink from the bar from Hattie Carroll, one of the barmaids. When she didn’t bring it immediately, he cursed at her. Carroll replied, “I’m hurrying as fast as I can.” Zantzinger said, “I don’t have to take that kind of shit off a nigger,” and struck her on the shoulder with the cane. Soon after, Hattie Carroll said, “I feel deathly ill, that man has upset me so.” She then collapsed and was taken to the hospital.

“What makes it hard to bear was that no one at the party challenged him, no one stopped him,” Rev. Jessup said. “He was bold enough to behave like this in the presence of many people, and not one of them intervened. Maybe they had connections to him, maybe they came for business, or their hands were tied by who he was. But not one of those people stood up for her.”


Zantzinger was sentenced in the Hattie Carroll killing on August 28, 1963. As it happened, that was the day of the March on Washington, when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Baltimore Sun all ran stories about the sentencing; the Times gave it a short, single-column write-up on page 15; the stories in the Post and the Sun were not much larger. None mentioned that anybody objected to the lightness of the sentence.

All three papers devoted pages and pages to the march; and it is striking, to a reader with the perspective of four decades, how blind (for want of a better word) the coverage in all three papers was. What comes through in the stories about the march is a vast relief — shared, presumably, by the reporters, the papers’ management, and their readership — that the 200,000-plus assembled Negroes hadn’t burned Washington to the ground. All three papers used the adjective “orderly” in their headlines; all reported prominently on President Kennedy’s praise for the marchers’ politeness and decorum. The Post and the Sun gave small notice to Dr. King, and less to what he said. Neither made much of the phrase “I have a dream.” Only James Reston of the Times understood that he had witnessed a great work of oratory, but even his story veered into brow-wiping at the good manners of the Negroes.

Listening to “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” today, you can hear Dylan shouting against exactly this blindness. The song he wrote took a one-column, under-the-rug story and played it as big as it deserved to be. Dylan’s voice sounds so young, hopeful, unjaded, noncommercial — so far from the Victoria’s Secret world of today. Even the song’s title is well chosen: Before I went to Hattie Carroll’s church, I hadn’t quite understood why her death was “lonesome.” But of course, as Rev. Jessup noted, “not one of those people stood up for her”; in a party full of elegant guests, Hattie Carroll was on her own.

At the time of his death, Bill Zantzinger was working as a foreclosure auctioneer. This man profited off the less fortunate all his life, and it’s clear that he had nothing but contempt for them. Deeds speak.

Rot in hell, Zantziger…and may the demons eternally cane your worthless, sorry ass to this tune:

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