40 Years to Justice: the Wilmington 10

by: DeniseVelez

Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 16:06:30 PM EST


Archival photos of Wilmington 10: From left, front row,
Rev. Ben Chavis, Joe Wright, Connie Tindall,
Jerry Jacobs; from left, back row, Wayne Moore,
Anne Sheppard, James McKoy, Willie Vereen, Marvin Patrick and Reginald Epps. 1976

40 years to Justice: the Wilmington 10

It's hard to believe that 40 years have passed since the conviction of the Wilmington 10, in 1972 for trumped up charges relating to a firebombing in the city of Wilmington in 1971. At the time I was editing the newspaper for the Black Panther Party Revolutionary People's Communication Network, and we not only covered the trial and convictions, but corresponded with Ben Chavis, the alleged leader of the "conspiracy" while he was in jail.

DeniseVelez :: 40 Years to Justice: the Wilmington 10
Chavis was assigned to Wilmington, North Carolina in 1971 from the Commission for Racial Justice to help desegregate the public school system. Since the city abruptly closed the black high school, laid off its principal and most of its teachers, and distributed the students to other schools, there had been conflicts with white students. The administration did not hear their grievances, and the students organized a boycott in protest.

He and nine others were arrested in February 1971 for a firebombing, charged with conspiracy and arson, and convicted in 1972. The oldest man at age 24, Chavis drew the longest sentence, 34 years. The ten were incarcerated while supporters pursued appeals. The case of the Wilmington Ten received international condemnation as a political prosecution. In December 1980, the Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial and overturned the original conviction.

In 1978 Amnesty International described Benjamin Chavis and seven others of the Wilmington Ten still in prison as "American political prisoners" under the definition of the Universal Rights of Man. They were prisoners of conscience. From this experience Benjamin Chavis wrote two books: An American Political Prisoner Appeals for Human Rights (while still in prison) and Psalms from Prison. In 1978, Chavis was named as one of the first winners of the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award.

1978: Ben Chavis, right, speaking at a news conference
the day after Gov. Jim Hunt's decision to reduce the sentences of the Wilmington Ten.
Hunt refused to pardon the group.

Background on the the trial and appeals

At the time, the state's case against the Wilmington Ten was seen as controversial both in the state of North Carolina and in the United States. One witness testified that he was given a minibike in exchange for his testimony against the group. Another witness, Allen Hall, had a history of mental illness and had to be removed from the courthouse after recanting on the stand under cross examination.The group were convicted of the charges. The men's sentences ranged from 29 years to 34 years for arson, severe proscription for a fire in which no one died.[1] Ann Shepard of Auburn, New York, age 35, received 15 years as an accessory before the fact and conspiracy to assault emergency personnel. The youngest of the group, Earl Vereen, was 18 years old at the time of his sentencing. Reverend Chavis was the oldest of the men at age 24. The sentences totaled 282 years.

Several national magazines, including Time, Newsweek, Sepia and The New York Times Magazine, published articles in the late 1970s on the trial and its aftermath. When then President Jimmy Carter admonished the Soviet Union in 1978 for holding political prisoners, the Soviets cited the Wilmington Ten as an example of American political imprisonment. Amnesty International (AI) took on the Wilmington Ten case in 1976. They classified the eight men still in prison as among 11 black men incarcerated in the U.S. who were considered to be political prisoners, under the definition in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1976 and 1977, three key prosecution witnesses recanted their testimony.

In 1977 60 Minutes aired a special about the case, suggesting that the evidence against the Wilmington Ten was fabricated. In 1978, the New York Times reporter Wayne King published an investigatory article; based on testimony of a witness whose anonymity he protected, he said that perhaps the prosecution had framed a guilty man, as his source said that he had committed the crimes at the behest of Chavis. In 1980, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal court, overturned the convictions, as it determined that (1) the prosecutor failed to disclose exculpatory evidence, in violation of the defendants' due process rights [the Brady rule]; and (2) the trial judge erred by limiting the cross-examination of key prosecution witnesses about special treatment the witnesses received in connection with their testimony, in violation of the defendants' 6th Amendment right to confront the witnesses against them. Chavis v. State of North Carolina, 637 F.2d 213 (4th Cir. 1980).

Though there is joy in North Carolina, and around the world,  Jerry Jacobs, Ann Shepard, Connie Tindall and Joe Wright did not live to receive the pardons that were granted by outgoing Democratic Governor Bev Perdue.  Life was not easy for those who not only did time, but then had to face a world where they were now "convicted felons."

When Gov. Perdue issued the pardons she stated

"I have decided to grant these pardons because the more facts I have learned about the Wilmington Ten, the more appalled I have become about the manner in which their convictions were obtained," Perdue, a Democrat who leaves office on Jan. 5, said Dec. 31.

"Justice demands that this stain finally be removed. The process in which this case was tried was fundamentally flawed. Therefore, as governor, I am issuing these pardons of innocence to right this longstanding wrong."

She said in a statement: "This conduct is disgraceful. It is utterly incompatible with basic notions of fairness, and with every ideal that North Carolina holds dear. The legitimacy of our criminal justice system hinges on it operating in a fair and equitable manner, with justice being dispensed based on innocence or guilt - not based on race or other forms of prejudice."

She continued, "These convictions were tainted by naked racism and represent an ugly stain on North Carolina's criminal justice system that cannot be allowed to stand any longer."

Key in all of this, which pushed Perdue to issue the pardons were the people behind the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project. They collected 0ver 144,000 petition signatures, they pushed the story to national media, and most importantly they had the backing of publisher Mary Thatch  of the Wilmington Journal, the areas oldest black newspaper, and reporter Cash Michaels

Rallies were held across the state like this one, led by Rev. Barber, head of the NC NAACP:


Historian and Professor Tim Tyson, who was writing a book about the Wilmington 10 got his hands on Prosecutor Jay Stroud's jury selection notes.

Ben David, the district attorney in New Hanover County, home of Wilmington, would not comment on the notes presented by the NAACP, other than saying that a few years ago he gave a box to a historian marked "Wilmington 10" that contained newspaper clippings and notes. David said he didn't go through the box, which was in a closet.

"This file belongs not just to the DA's office but to history," David said. "And I shared that file with a historian."

What was found in that box was key.

Wilmington 10 prosecutor sought 'KKK' jury, by Cash Michaels of The Wilmington Journal

The explosive "Stroud files," as they're being referred to, were discovered several months ago by a Duke University professor who was researching the Wilmington Ten case for a book he was writing. When the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, a special outreach effort of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) to seek pardons of innocence for the Ten from North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, announced its formation earlier this year, the professor allowed the Wilmington Journal and Carolinian newspapers, both NNPA members, access to the materials.

Some of the contents of the Stroud files are being revealed only now because attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, NC; and attorney James Ferguson of Charlotte, the original lead defense lawyer for the Wilmington Ten, spent the summer confirming the authenticity of the materials. On Sept. 5 during a forum at the law school on the Wilmington Ten case hosted by Professor Joyner; Rev. Chavis; Rev. Kojo Nantambu, a colleague who worked with Rev. Chavis in Wilmington in 1971 as they led a Black student boycott of the local racially divisive public school system; and Ms. Judy Mack, the daughter of now-deceased Wilmington ten member Anne Sheppard, attorney Ferguson confirmed what he discovered in the Stroud files.

This video shows the actual files with explanations:

There was a fair amount of confirmation of things we suspected at the time that race was the central strategy of the prosecution," attorney Ferguson maintained, singling out a legal pad that prosecutor Stroud used during jury selection of the first trial to track Ferguson's questioning of potential jurors in Pender County, a neighboring county the case had been moved to in June 1972. Pender had a larger African-American population than New Hanover, where the Wilmington Ten had been charged, thus, more Black candidates for jury service. Ferguson details how Stroud wrote on the top of one page of his jury selection legal pad "Stay away from Black men." Next to that on the top of that same sheet, Stroud wrote, "Leave off Rocky [Point], Maple Hill. Put on Burgaw, Long Creek Atkinson Blacks." Apparently in Stroud's mind, Blacks from the more rural towns of Burgaw, Long Creek and Atkinson, would probably be less likely to identify with "radical" civil rights leaders like Ben Chavis than African-Americans from the more urbane towns of Rocky Point and Maple Hill. Indeed, the 29th prospective juror on that same page named "Randolph" has a capital "B" in front of his name in the margin, and in parentheses the word "no," and written afterwards, "on basis Maple Hill."

In contrast, another possible juror, number 9 with a "B" named "Murphy," Stroud has written in parentheses, "Worth chance because from Atkinson." There are several prospective jurors listed by name, and if not, certainly by number, who have the capital letter "B" written in the margin. If there was any doubt about the "B" indicating "Black" - which was attached to many names the words "leave off" were added. On prospective "B" juror number eleven named "Graham," Stroud writes, "knows; sensible; Uncle Tom type."

On Number 27 named "Stringfield," Stroud writes, "no named Black on jury." On Number 19 named "James" Stroud writes, "stay away from," apparently indicating that the potential juror is a Black male he doesn't want. And prosecutor Stroud had unmistakable codes for White jurors he preferred. On that same legal pad sheet tracking juror interviews, when Stroud was impressed with a White interviewee's answers, he'd write down the three letters of the alphabet most commonly associated with the most fear White supremacist group in the South at the time - the Ku Klux Klan.

"KKK?...good" is what Stroud wrote for juror Number 1 known as "Pridgen." For Number 6 named "Heath," the reverse, "O.K." then "KKK?". Number 75 on a subsequent page was "Fine - probably KKK!!" and on Number 99 Stroud writes, "does not have a record - KKK!!" There are other potential White jurors Stroud has also written "KKK" next to, but he then crosses them out, possibly indicating that they were no longer eligible.
In some cases, Stroud apparently had trouble telling the difference between Whites and fair-skinned Blacks. For Number 38, the prosecutor writes, "good name and location - KKK if White." On Number 59, Stroud writes, "take off on basis of name if Black."
After studying the notes, Attorney Ferguson observed: "Race infused the jury selection strategy in that June trial." When the first jury was dominated by Blacks, Ferguson said,

Since the embed code won't work here please take a moment to listen to the NAACP press conference , led by  Rev. Dr. William Barber, NC NAACP.

Ben Chavis makes a statement thanking Gov. Perdue on behalf of the Wilmington 10, declaring the pardons a victory for the civil rights movement.

Though most people know Rev. Ben Chavis from the time he headed the NAACP, many are not aware that he coined the term "environmental racism"  

"Racial discrimination in the deliberated targeting of ethnic and minority communities for exposure to toxic and hazardous waste sites and facilities, coupled with the systematic exclusion of minorities in environmental policy making, enforcement, and remediation." To prove the validity of his definition, Chavis in 1986 conducted and published the landmark national study: Toxic Waste and Race in the United States of America, that statistically revealed the direct correlation between race and the location of toxic waste throughout the United States. Chavis is considered by many environmental grassroots activists to be the "father of the post-modern environmental justice movement" that has steadily grown throughout the nation and world since the early 1980s.

To get a deeper sense of racial history, in the area, and events that drove Ben Chavis and others, we need to look at Killing of Henry Marrow, which is detailed in Professor Timothy Tyson's  book Blood Done Sign My Name

The book deals with the 1970 killing of Henry Marrow, a black man. This case helped galvanize the African-American civil rights movement in Oxford, North Carolina, where the book takes place, and across the eastern North Carolina black belt. It helped establish local civil rights activist Ben Chavis' leadership in the black civil rights movement, which eventually led to his becoming the executive director of the NAACP and later an organizer of the Million Man March. This episode radicalized the African American freedom struggle in North Carolina, leading up to the turbulence of the Wilmington Ten cases, which grew out of racial conflict in the port city and the trial of Ben Chavis and nine others on charges stemming from the burning of a grocery store.

Tyson, whose father was the minister of the First United Methodist Church-Oxford, a prominent local church, explores not only the white supremacy of the South's racial caste system but his own and his family's white supremacy. He interweaves a narrative of the story and its effects on him with discussion of the racial history of the United States, focusing on the persistence of discrimination despite federal law and on the violent realities of that history on both sides of the color line. Tyson challenges the popular memory of the movement as a nonviolent call on America's conscience led by Martin Luther King. The vision of the movement in these pages is local as well as national and international, violent as well as nonviolent, and far more complicated and human than the myth of "pure good versus bare-fanged evil in the streets of Birmingham," as he puts it. Oxford writer Thad Stem, Jr. is a key figure in the book.

The book was made into a docudrama by the same name in 2010:

Directed by Jeb Stuart, Blood Done Sign My Name is an epic civil rights drama based on the acclaimed book of the same name by prize-winning author and fellow African American studies scholar, Timothy Tyson. Part autobiography, part history of the civil rights movement in the South, it recounts the murder of Henry Marrow, a 23 year-old black Vietnam veteran who was shot and beaten to death by a prominent white businessman and his grown sons. It also chronicles the reaction to Morrows killing by his cousin, Ben Chavis, who organized a peaceful, fifty-mile march to the states capitol, as well as a ten year old Tyson, who watched as his father, the pastor of the all-white Methodist church, tried to get his congregation to accept the inevitability of integration.

I'm always amazed when people refer to the Civil Rights Movement in America as if it was in the past - and ended. So many chapters of the struggle are still open, and until we defeat racism and get justice, the book will not be closed.

For slide shows, videos and more information, on the Wilmington 10, check out Triumphant Warriors.

(cross-posted from Black Kos Tuesday's Chile)

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The struggle continues (2.00 / 51)
We have more work to do  

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

Thanks for the cross post Denise (2.00 / 35)
Your work and optimism is tireless. But the injustice goes on.

Your example inspires us.

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
thanks for giving me this space to do it in (2.00 / 32)
will make sure that it will be here every Tuesday  

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
Heh. This is as much YOUR space as anyone's (2.00 / 30)
Personally, I'll be more likely to find you here every Tuesday, so long may that regime reign

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Hello my friend (1.86 / 7)
I miss you! Will you be around in Azeroth anytime soon?

[ Parent ]
Well lookie here! (2.00 / 7)
Good to see ya!



[ Parent ]
Tay!!!! (2.00 / 3)
have not had much time to play recently except very early AM EST when you are probably asleep.

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
Thank you for this (2.00 / 4)
I have never heard this story before now.

[ Parent ]
Welcome to the Moose, Rustbelt! (2.00 / 4)
We have a tradition of sending a welcome wagon around. Sorry I don't have a snack to offer, but I smell something cooking on the bbq and I saw fog on his way back there mixing some mysterious bowl with a fanatical look in his eye, so you may want to go check there.


John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Why thank you (2.00 / 3)
I brought a bottle of scotch as a token of goodwill.  

[ Parent ]
That's the spirit! (2.00 / 3)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
That bit about the KKK... (2.00 / 28)
being used as a positive in jury selection...blows my mind. I am FROM the South...I ought not be surprised, but, I am.

Thanks for cross-posting, Dee...it is an important story, with important lessons, no matter color it is in.



Yup. Pretty disgusting. But I wasn't surprised. (2.00 / 24)

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
I just wrote a really amazing comment here about the NC Racial Justice Act (2.00 / 17)
and how the discriminatory practices didnt diminish after 1971 but then somehow I lost it. However, through the first RJA hearing this summer (one of the lawyers for the defendant was Jay Ferguson mentioned in the article in the diary above) we learned that the use of race in jury selection was still dominate in the 1990s-2000s.  Of course we've always know this but it was proven at the hearing. And despite a strong appeal by prosecutors to not find the discrimination and thus let them continue unfettered,  the Judge issued an Order in December 2012 finding the discrimination and commuting the defendant's sentence from death to life without parole.  He has found the same findings and Orders in three other cases since then. Sadly, beginning with the Republican/Tea Party takeover of the legislature in 2010 the RJA has been legislatively crippled, and with the complete GOP takeover of the house, senate, governorship and judiciary in November 2012,  it will be repealed soon by all accounts. So for a brief moment NC began to rise out of this horrible history of discrimination in our justice system. However we were all gratified to see Governor Perdue issue the Wilmington 10 pardons as one of her last acts as Governor. It made me proud to be a democrat.  

[ Parent ]
"....but somehow I lost it" (2.00 / 8)
Download Lazarus!!

The links for Firefox and Chrome can be found in our Insider's Guide to Motley Moose

It will save you soooo much heartache and works on nearly every site and form you will ever fill out.

Seriously the best 'ad on' I've come across so far as one's mental health is concerned.



[ Parent ]
Thank you for posting this here, Dee. (2.00 / 27)
I will go give you a rec on your crosspost also.

Back to read in a minute.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

Thanks Jan! n/t (2.00 / 21)

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
thank you, Denise (2.00 / 26)
incredibly powerful writing, simply beautiful.

la lucha continua, no terminara facilmente

now more than ever.

Twitter Doesn't Make You Martin Luther King

Since you already told me this is a favorite poem (2.00 / 27)
I'll post it here too

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

by Langston Hughes

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

Adding my thanks to the posting here... (2.00 / 27)
I have missed these diaries since I went into lurker mode on the other site. Will read in depth after my work meeting.

Bev Perdue got (2.00 / 24)
rather a raw deal as governor of NC. She's pretty much I think a centrist Dem, but she was smack up against all the good ol' rightwing boys of the state lege who were, and are, still fightin' mad that there's a black man in their White House.

Still, she's done some good things. In a perfect world, she'd get some party honor for this and perhaps a nice appointment somewhere, but I am not holding my breath.

Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas. -- Anonymous

Well at least she was able to get this done (2.00 / 22)
on her way out.  Any chance of her running for Senate?

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
Not likely I'm afraid. She got caught up in some scandals and some of her (2.00 / 16)
aids were charged and convicted. So I doubt she would be likely to run. But most of that was pretty partisan. She was attacked from the beginning by the GOP. Art Pope already had his sights on the Governorship for the GOP and he did everything he could to hurt her politically. Though I suppose I should say he just orchestrated it. She has had to veto some pretty amazing thing the GOP passed. I'm so sorry to see her go. The new Governor pretends to be a moderate. But that is only if a drown the government in the bathtub moderate whose career involves Duke Power can be considered moderate. He's already floating the idea of doing away with the State income tax. So instead of Duke Power paying taxes he's going to tax barbers and hairdressers...a services tax. Nice guy. Really loves the little people...NOT.

[ Parent ]
Sorry to hear that :( n/t (2.00 / 10)

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
we're going to need (2.00 / 8)
someone to take on ATM Burr in, I think, 2016. Hope it's someone really good, because Burr is a useless waste of space, but backed by serious money.

Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas. -- Anonymous

[ Parent ]
Absolutely. The only thing of note that he has done is the ATM debacle. (2.00 / 4)
Other than that he's just voted consistently with right wing republicans without even trying to get the pork included in the bills that the other states' senators do. He gives it up for free. So useless on all counts. Though he may have worked with our useless congressman McHenry to try to get a picture of Reagan on the $50 bill. A waste of skin and votes.  

[ Parent ]
Tipped & rec'd in purple & orange. (2.00 / 26)
It's hard to know what to say about justice so long delayed. We are still on a long journey, Sister Dee. A l-o-n-g journey. Thank you for shedding so much light for us along the way.

Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

too long. But we'll keep on keepin' on n/t (2.00 / 24)

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
Me too. I live in Wilmington, glad to see this done even if far (2.00 / 18)
too late.

"Pin your money to your girdle and don't talk to strangers."  My Grandmom's advice when I went away to school.  I don't wear a girdle and have never met a stranger.  Sorry Grandmom!

[ Parent ]
Planting my butt on the purple porch! (2.00 / 26)
Thanks, Dee; purple goes better with my coloring. :)

I'll be back to read better and comment after I help someone put together a fundraiser for Richard Myers' widow.

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." ~ Desmond Tutu

I love purple too :) n/t (2.00 / 22)

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
I wanted to read more on what Governor Perdue (2.00 / 20)
said, if she made a statement with the pardons and found this:


You might want to avoid the comments.

aahh - a comments sewer. It figures (2.00 / 18)
thanks for the link Sylv  

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
I read through the sewer. (2.00 / 10)
Interesting tidbits if you can tolerate the floaters.

Even some of the very anti-comments communicate fascinating perspectives. Some seem to be from white kids in the schools there at the time. While I cannot agree with the content, it certainly must have been a traumatic experience for them and I can sympathize with the children they were caught up in something larger than themselves and beyond their ability to comprehend.

A reporter on the scene had a few words to add, and the daughter of one of the ten as well (I would have cautioned her to avoid the stress of wading in).

The sewage part of it is, well, indicative if nothing else. Worth knowing that there are still that many with those sorts of views. Even there, though, there is a ray of positive news. The commentary these same folks (or their ideological fore-bearers) would have provided at the time of the trial would certainly have been of a much fouler nature.

Thank you for sharing this, Denise. As always, you provide a rich perspective in a well-crafted package. The conversations of recent days has re-framed my perspective of the time span so much has happened in.

Annoyingly for some, no doubt, it has sharpened my pedantic optimism. In such brief time as I can recall having walked the earth so many injustices have been - if not resolved - then certainly been stood on their heads. It may not ever be really possible for those of us a quantum younger to fully appreciate what you and my step-dad and so many others have done for the rest of us.

Thank you.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Hi Sis Dee... (2.00 / 23)
Surprised to see the Porch over on the Moose too.

*eyebrow raise... good call.

Glad I reinstated my password here. It's all about the presence and the continued work.


I'll go give you a rec at the DK too.  

I used to post my pieces from Bkos over here (2.00 / 22)
quite frequently - I've been delinquent - will now make sure I start doing it again.  

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
I think it will be much appreciated by many (2.00 / 21)
It's sweet of you!

[ Parent ]
what a story. (2.00 / 21)
thanks for sharing this here.  I heard that this pardon was on Gov Perdue's desk and was hoping it would come out right.  That picture at the top could appear in the dictionary next to the word travesty.  

If you've got the stomach for it, moose, you should read the  comments on a Wilmington TV station blog that Sylv linkedto see just what hatred looks like.  It's hard to read but helpful to see that "The struggle continues" and that "we have more work to do."

Off topic but went to see the Emancipation (2.00 / 19)
Proclamation Exhibit in Washington at the Museum of American History, As part of it, they had the Civil Rights Movement and, of course, there was John Lewis. How young he looked! My question, and I hope am not derailing the diary, is why hasn't he received more recognition? And why doesn't SNCC?  

He gets it from us - he's a real hero in my book (2.00 / 12)
I was really pissed off when he was dissed by the #Occupy folks in Atlanta ....but that is another story

John was a firebrand and some of the leaders of the March on Washington forced him to "edit" his speech ...that's another story :)

SNCC history gets pushed to the side cause it was Snickers who advocated "Black Power"  

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
I loves me some John Lewis. (2.00 / 9)
There is something about his voice when he speaks...it is filled with such wisdom and grace. I can listen to him for hours.

Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

[ Parent ]
Me too. (2.00 / 9)
His is a voice of generations.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
Great piece, Denise (2.00 / 12)
Gets me thinking about voir dire generally. I know the prosecution is unlikely to ever be especially interested in people being tried by a jury of their peers. They are more likely to be looking for a jury of people who hate the defendant up front. The structure of the process is supposed to protect against that, but there are so many ways for systemic racism to bias the legal process.

It's great that those ugly notes were revealed to the harsh light of day, but how often does this happen? I can easily manage other variants on this, such as the prosecution looking for misogynist males in rape trials, people without children in child abuse trials. Is this really what the adversarial system was supposed to be about?  

yes - such is the nature of the just-us (2.00 / 12)
system ..."us" meaning those in power.

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
I think it would fabulous if you would write a series of posts on your life. (2.00 / 10)
I can only imagine.  (Pictures would be great, too.  You rocked an afro that's for sure.)    :)

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
I was suppossed to do an autobiography - had a book contract (2.00 / 9)
heh. Used the advance money to get my friends out of jail.
Did not finish the book, Maybe one day I'll do it.

Perhaps doing segments as blog posts would give me a nudge - I'll think about it.

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
I would love to read such a series.... (2.00 / 8)
and we'd be honored to have it here.

Your diary on the Young Lords is one of my all time favorite Moose diaries. You were there...and the way you can talk about those times and events puts the 'personal' in it...and, for me at least, I learn better that way.

You have been one of the best teachers I've had Dee, online or off...so, yes, such a series would be very much appreciated if you have the time and/or inclination to share it with us.


[ Parent ]
You should write a many books (2.00 / 7)
Your breadth of knowledge and style of writing amaze me.  

[ Parent ]
hey Sis! (2.00 / 6)
good morning :)

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
i learned from this. (2.00 / 14)
much i did not know.  greatly appreciative of your sharing this with us here, deo.   you are a treasure.

real change takes time:  http://www.motleymoose.com/sho...

never stop moving toward justice.  never.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

Found my password! (2.00 / 7)
Yay.  Another excellent post Sis Dee.  Hope you are doing well & hugs!

What? Last thing I read last night and (2.00 / 4)
first thing I see again in the morning. Well worth reading several times and taking the time to watch the videos. Thank you Dee.

Glad you watched the videos (2.00 / 5)
The ones with Rev. Barber are really important - I am reminded every time I hear him speak/preach how powerful the black church is still in most of our communities.

It's one of the things I was brought up to respect even though my dad was an atheist (and I'm a pagan).

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
Hell yeah! (2.00 / 4)
I'll say that with you. That's right. Nothing like this in any white church that I recall. Rev. Barber is powerful but the call/response type of interaction is just great as well. It seems to work so well to get everyone involved and then becomes an emotional feedback loop between pastor and flock.

[ Parent ]
Very heavy, Dee, makes my heart hurt and my head reel. (2.00 / 5)
I always read your posts, even if I don't comment, because sometimes it's too hard, and sometimes I just go away wordless to digest the information. Yesterday was one of those times. Fighting against injustice is one thing, being the target of it quite another, and that's a very tough lesson for those of us who have been spared because our skin color is the "right" one. The hatred and cruelty that black people (and other minorities) have (had) to endure for centuries is unfathomable to me. I could not begin to imagine what that must be like. Your writings, as well as those of a few others, like Chauncey DeVega and Hamdem Rice, for example, help me to understand it at least somewhat better.

Thank you.
aka translatorpro  

Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.
                       - Bertolt Brecht

Join the Club. (2.00 / 5)
sometimes it's too hard, and sometimes I just go away wordless to digest the information.

Some writers are like that. Dee is one.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
It is hard for me too (2.00 / 5)
I've been blessed and privileged to have had parents who were well off enough to afford me some insulation - and even when arrested I had access to great lawyers who got me out of messes.  

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
Feels like Langston Hughes was speaking of (2.00 / 5)
Justice deferred  --festering like a sore and smelling like rotten meat -- and not "simply" dreams," although I guess in truth, when you lock up innocent men, it's the same thing.

There is so much work to be done. Unfortunately, too many Americans have no clue that this work is their obligation.  We stand upon the shoulders of those who fought for our rights. We are obligated to pay it forward.  

© grover

So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

yes it is an obligation and unfortunately (2.00 / 4)
far too many people don't know, don't care or have other concerns that are more pressing. Which is what makes it even more important that those who do know keep trying to teach and spread the word.

Frankly I'm tired of the civil rights movement simply becoming some nice quotes sprinkled around from MLK.  

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

[ Parent ]
Theese stories always bring me a sigh. (2.00 / 1)
Can't help but wonder how the demise of print media will make it harder for theese stories to see the light of day, as they did in the late seventies.
 As much as I value theese snippits of our history I cant help but think that the people who most need to hear them never will because of our fractured, profit driven media. Not to mention how little of it gets put in front of our school children.
 When ever I hear of an American become upset with somone who doesnt profess love or pride for the USA, I think of stories like this.

Thanks Denise


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