Joe Koper is a self-described “accidental author”. He enjoys reading a lot of history books and is often fascinated by some of the more obscure or forgotten historical “tidbits.” His book, The Isaiah Fountain Case: Outrage and Jim Crow Justice on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, developed from one such historical tidbit. After reading a six-page account of the story in On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-First Century, by Sherrilyn Ifill, Joe was surprised to find very little information about the story in local history books. Joe’s curiosity led to a research project that involved reviewing hundreds of newspaper articles and appeals court documents. After sifting through all the accounts of the case, as well as several side stories, Joe decided that there was an interesting and compelling story to be told–certainly enough to fill a book. His blog, Adventures of an Accidental Author, details just how his book developed (mostly during the COVID shutdowns of 2020 and 2021).
Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Joe made Maryland his home after his service in the U.S. Army. He received a B.S. degree from Gannon College in Erie, PA, and a M.S. degree from George Washington University in D.C. He then spent most of his civilian career as a human resources executive. After his retirement, Joe worked as a landscape designer. After moving to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Joe joined the crew of the historic Oxford-Bellevue Ferry. When he’s not sailing back-and-forth across the Tred Avon River on the ferry, Joe enjoys reading, woodworking, gardening, listening to “the Oldies,” and spending time with his high school sweetheart and wife, Jackie.