3 men convicted in infamous ‘Scottsboro Boys’ case are pardoned by Alabama parole board
November 22, 2013
Closing a chapter in a criminal case that is considered symbolic of racial injustice in the early decades of the 20th Century, the Alabama parole board Thursday granted posthumous pardons to three black men who were convicted by all-white juries of a rape that apparently never occurred in a case involving two white women as claimed victims. Nine black men were originally convicted within a few weeks of their arrest and jailing in Scottsboro in 1931, and all but one were sentenced to death. Successful appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, involving landmark rulings on the right to legal representation and the racial composition of juries, were followed by retrials of some of the defendants. Charges against five of the men were dropped by the state in 1937, and a sixth defendant was pardoned before he died in 1976 by then-Gov. George Wallace. Today’s action pardoned the remaining three defendants, Haywood Patterson, Charles Weems and Andy Wright, according to the Associated Press and the Montgomery Advertiser.
George Stinney, Black Teen Executed In 1944, May Get New Trial
November 12, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Supporters of a 14-year-old black boy executed in 1944 for killing two white girls are asking a South Carolina judge to take the unheard-of move of granting him a new trial in hopes he will be cleared of the charges. George Stinney was convicted on a shaky confession in a segregated society that wanted revenge for the beating deaths of two girls, ages 11 and 7, according to the lawsuit filed last month on Stinney’s behalf in Clarendon County. The request for a new trial has an uphill climb. The judge may refuse to hear it at all, since the punishment was already carried out. Also, South Carolina has strict rules for introducing new evidence after a trial is complete, requiring the information to have been impossible to discover before the trial and likely to change the results, said Kenneth Gaines, a professor at the University of South Carolina’s law school,
Caribbean Nations to Seek Reparations, Putting Price on Damage of Slavery
November 1, 2013
LONDON — In his 2008 biography of an antislavery campaigner, Britain’s foreign secretary, William Hague, described the trade in human beings as an indefensible barbarity, “brutal, mercenary and inhumane from its beginning to its end.” Fourteen Caribbean countries that once sustained that slave economy now want Mr. Hague to put his money where his mouth is. Spurred by a sense of injustice that has lingered for two centuries, the countries plan to compile an inventory of the lasting damage they believe they suffered and then demand an apology and reparations from the former colonial powers of Britain, France and the Netherlands.
1933 La. Lynching Recieving New Scrutiny
October 15, 2013
LABADIEVILLE — The corpse of 16-year-old Freddie Moore, his face showing signs of a severe beating, hands bound, remained hanging for at least 24 hours from a metal girder on the old, hand-cranked swing bridge spanning Bayou Lafourche. Hanged by the neck the night of Oct. 11, 1933, in a mob lynching, the black youth had been accused in the death of a neighbor, a white girl. On the 80th anniversary, law students in Boston and a daughter of Moore’s cousin who lives in New Orleans are trying to clear his name. Arrested Oct. 10, 1933, in the slaying days earlier of Anna Mae LaRose, a 15-year-old girl who was his friend, Moore was pulled from the parish jail in Napoleonville the next night by an angry mob of 50 to 200 armed and unmasked people who had the prison keys.
Civil Rights Justice on the Cheap
September 25, 2013
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — VICTIMS often absorb the shame that should belong to the perpetrators. For most of her 62 years, Sarah Collins Rudolph has confronted that misplaced emotion every time she looks in the mirror at a glass substitute for the eye she lost 50 years ago today, when members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. The same ambulance (colored) that took young Sarah to the hospital subsequently transported the corpse of her 14-year-old sister, Addie Mae Collins, who perished along with three other girls. The morning’s Sunday school lesson was on “The Love That Forgives.”
Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project Commemorates Alabama Church Bombing
September 20, 2013
OAKLAND — She was a college student beginning a year of study in France when she heard about the latest horror in her Alabama hometown: four African-American girls killed in a church bombing, two of them known to her as family friends. Years before she became an international symbol of a turbulent American era, Angela Yvonne Davis was a homesick 19-year-old searching for a French phone booth. She wanted to check on her parents back in Birmingham. “As horrendous as it was to imagine that bombing, I really wish I had been able to be there,” Davis said this week. “Whenever you lose someone, you want your friends and family around.” Just 18 days after the euphoric March on Washington dared Americans to imagine an end to racism, Ku Klux Klan members on Sept. 15, 1963, planted dynamite under the steps of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, a gathering spot for young activists fighting the city’s deeply entrenched racial segregation.
Commemorating the Birmingham Bombing
September 17, 2013
“Terrorism is Part of Our History”: Angela Davis on ’63 Church Bombing, Growing up in “Bombingham”
3Qs: Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, and Social Justice
July 17, 2013
Last weekend, a jury acquitted neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman of all charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The case has sparked a national discussion about race and gun laws since incident occurred last year, and protests have broken out since the verdict was read. We asked law professor Margaret Burnham, founder of the School of Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, which conducts research on anti-civil rights violence in the United States and other miscarriages of justice of that era, to examine the outcome and the case’s broader impact…
The Justice System’s Role In The Death Of Trayvon Martin
July 16, 2013
The NAACP’s appeal for federal review of the Florida verdict in the murder case against George Zimmerman reprises the calls for federal statutory remedies for racial homicides, made first in the wake of the Civil War, then in the following decades to control lynching, and finally after the gay-hating murder of Matthew Shepard and the lynching of James Byrd
Minden Branch of the NAACP wants Apology from Police Jury in 66-year old Lynching Case
May 9, 2013
On May 7, 2013, in Minden County, Louisiana, Rev. Kenneth Wallace, President of the Minden Branch of the NAACP, addressed the Webster Parish Police Jury regarding a 66 year old lynching case. Aided with research provided by the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law, Rev. Wallace made an impassioned plea, requesting that the Webster Parish Police Jury make a formal apology, and hold a memorial service in recognition of the injustice suffered by U.S. veteran, John C. Jones, and his cousin, Albert Harris Jr. The two men were victims to brutal beatings by a white lynch mob on August 8, 1946, which left John C. Jones dead and caused Albert Harris Jr. to flee town. Local law enforcement refused to commit to any arrests or prosecutions in correlation with the lynching. Eventually, the U.S. Justice Department opened a case against six suspects, including two Webster Parish Sheriff deputies. At the trial, the defense counsel played upon enduring Southern hostility towards the federal government, representing the case of the prosecution as a politically motivated attack on the South. This strategy, combined with appeals to the racial prejudices of the jury, proved successful. All of the defendants were acquitted of the charges brought against them. Please review local news stations coverage of the case by following the links below.