Racism in America page 1
Learn more about racism in America, the events, laws and how racism helped shape America.
Racism in the United States has been widespread since the colonial era. Legally or socially sanctioned privileges and rights were given to white Americans but denied to all other races. The KKK, white mobs and other white supremacist groups have killed more Americans than terrorist have. The KKK may have given up their sheets for suites and changed their name to the alt-right or other names to hide who they are, but at their core, they are white people who hate black people, people whose skin is not white and Jews. White Racist Have Been Killing and Terrorizing Black People for Over 150 Years; if black lives mattered in America, the KKK and other white supremacist groups would be branded as the domestic terrorist groups they are and government resources would be devoted to combating them.
Jerry Falwell Jr. is pushing greed, racism, sexism and homophobia instead of the word of the god. God warns us of false prophets and those who use his name to promote their ideas and enrich themselves, they are a danger to all of us, and they are not doing the work of the lord.
Scientists in Oklahoma are one step closer to finding possible evidence of mass graves linked to the deadly race massacre of 1921. Researchers in Tulsa used ground penetrating radar to survey two sites and found irregularities that could be consistent with large-scale burials. The neighborhood of Greenwood was known as black Wall Street. Restaurants, grocery stores and tailors were all black-owned businesses. In 1921 a white mob burned much of the Tulsa neighborhood to the ground, and some say as many as 300 black residents were killed. Almost forgotten by history, the city is trying to uncover the past and heal the wounds.
Photojournalist Kavin Ross said he's grateful that a tragic, little known part of Tulsa history is now coming to light. "For decades it was hush-hush," Ross told CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca. "Even some of the survivors that I interviewed, they were quiet and telling me, 'Oh and the white people—' They were whispering in their own homes because they were brought up not talking about what happened.'" The white mob clashed with several armed black men who had gathered to protect a black shoe shiner who was unjustly accused of assaulting a white woman. After a shot was fired, violence broke out and hundreds of black people were massacred.
Ross' great-grandfather was forced to flee the city after his business was destroyed. "You had explosions. You had people running for their lives. It was just hell on earth," Ross said. The horror was brought to life in the premiere episode of HBO's new series "Watchmen." Witnesses reported seeing bodies put in mass graves, but local officials hid evidence of any crimes.
By Brendan Cole
Marlon Anderson had worked for three years as a security guard at West High School in Madison, and in the school district for 11 years. Tempers frayed during a confrontation with a student whom he was trying to calm and get to leave the school. Anderson said that the student started to curse at him and used the N-word repeatedly. To emphasize how unacceptable this was, Anderson used the word in response. "I shouldn't be punished because I have the right to tell somebody not to call me this word"-- an emotional plea from a security guard fired from West High for repeating the n-word when asking a student to stop calling him that. MMSD's education board will be reexamining policies pic.twitter.com/zlhSOShKW5 — Madalyn O'Neill (@news3madalyn) October 17, 2019. He said "Don't call me that, don't call me the n-word, and don't call me n*****," using the word. Anderson told the Wisconsin State Journal that he had been set up by the assistant principal who held up her radio to his face during the altercation for other staff to hear. The Madison Metropolitan School District [MMSD] fired Anderson, citing a zero-tolerance policy of staff using the word, following a number of recent incidents in which racial slurs had been said. West High Principal Karen Boran informed parents by email that "regardless of context or circumstance, racial slurs are not acceptable in our schools." But in an interview with TV station Channel 3000, Anderson said he had been unfairly targeted and was trying to make a point to the student. "I want the zero-tolerance policy to be looked at. It's lazy," he said. "My mother was called this word. My father was called this word, my grandmother, my grandfather and keep going down the family line. "We were all called this word, and not one of them could say, 'Don't call me that.' I can. And I shouldn't be punished, because I have the right to tell somebody not to call me this word," he said. "I made a conscious decision to address the word because it is an epidemic, our kids use it every day." "You have no tolerance for a word, but yet you let students call me that word 15 times without correcting that behavior," he added. The union Madison Teachers Inc. is fighting the dismissal. In a statement, the union said: "We hope the school board will modify their action earlier and get him back to work," according to WKOW.
Forensic anthropologists are using ground-penetrating radar at Oaklawn Cemetery to look for evidence of long-rumored mass graves.
By DeNeen L. Brown
Nearly 100 years after a race massacre left hundreds of black people dead, Tulsa began searching for evidence that victims of one of the country’s worst episodes of racial violence were buried in mass graves. On Monday, scientists and forensic anthropologists armed with ground-penetrating radar combed the grounds of Tulsa’s Oaklawn Cemetery, looking for anomalies that might be consistent with mass graves. The cemetery, which is owned by the city, is just a few blocks from what is known as Black Wall Street. It is also the site where, in 1999, renowned forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow led a team of scientists who discovered an anomaly bearing “all the characteristics of a dug pit or trench with vertical walls and an undefined object within the approximate center of the feature,” the Tulsa Race Riot Commission concluded in its 2001 report. Along with testimony from a witness of the massacre, the report said, “this trench-like feature takes on the properties of a mass grave.” The commission recommended excavation, but the city decided not to dig for physical evidence. Last year, Mayor G.T. Bynum (R) announced that he would reopen the investigation into mass graves, calling it a murder investigation. The announcement followed a Washington Post story about the unresolved questions surrounding the massacre. “We owe it to the community to determine if there are mass graves in our city,” Bynum told The Post at the time. “We owe it to the victims and their family members.” The city is obligated to find out what happened in 1921 as Tulsa prepares to mark the 100th anniversary of the rampage, he said.
By Brent Staples
Congress envisioned a white, Protestant and culturally homogeneous America when it declared in 1790 that only “free white persons, who have, or shall migrate into the United States” were eligible to become naturalized citizens. The calculus of racism underwent swift revision when waves of culturally diverse immigrants from the far corners of Europe changed the face of the country. As the historian Matthew Frye Jacobson shows in his immigrant history “Whiteness of a Different Color,” the surge of newcomers engendered a national panic and led Americans to adopt a more restrictive, politicized view of how whiteness was to be allocated. Journalists, politicians, social scientists and immigration officials embraced the habit, separating ostensibly white Europeans into “races.” Some were designated “whiter” — and more worthy of citizenship — than others, while some were ranked as too close to blackness to be socially redeemable. The story of how Italian immigrants went from racialized pariah status in the 19th century to white Americans in good standing in the 20th offers a window onto the alchemy through which race is constructed in the United States, and how racial hierarchies can sometimes change. Darker skinned southern Italians endured the penalties of blackness on both sides of the Atlantic. In Italy, Northerners had long held that Southerners — particularly Sicilians — were an “uncivilized” and racially inferior people, too obviously African to be part of Europe. Racist dogma about Southern Italians found fertile soil in the United States. As the historian Jennifer Guglielmo writes, the newcomers encountered waves of books, magazines and newspapers that “bombarded Americans with images of Italians as racially suspect.” They were sometimes shut out of schools, movie houses and labor unions, or consigned to church pews set aside for black people. They were described in the press as “swarthy,” “kinky haired” members of a criminal race and derided in the streets with epithets like “dago,” “guinea” — a term of derision applied to enslaved Africans and their descendants — and more familiarly racist insults like “white nigger” and “nigger wop.” The penalties of blackness went well beyond name-calling in the apartheid South. Italians who had come to the country as “free white persons” were often marked as black because they accepted “black” jobs in the Louisiana sugar fields or because they chose to live among African-Americans. This left them vulnerable to marauding mobs like the ones that hanged, shot, dismembered or burned alive thousands of black men, women and children across the South. The federal holiday honoring the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus — celebrated on Monday — was central to the process through which Italian-Americans were fully ratified as white during the 20th century. The rationale for the holiday was steeped in myth, and allowed Italian-Americans to write a laudatory portrait of themselves into the civic record. Few who march in Columbus Day parades or recount the tale of Columbus’s voyage from Europe to the New World are aware of how the holiday came about or that President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed it as a one-time national celebration in 1892 — in the wake of a bloody New Orleans lynching that took the lives of 11 Italian immigrants. The proclamation was part of a broader attempt to quiet outrage among Italian-Americans, and a diplomatic blowup over the murders that brought Italy and the United States to the brink of war.
By Hannah Knowles
CHARLOTTESVILLE — A Monticello tour guide was explaining earlier this summer how enslaved people built, planted and tended a terrace of vegetables at Thomas Jefferson’s estate when a woman interrupted to share her annoyance. “Why are you talking about that?” she demanded, according to Gary Sandling, vice president of Monticello’s visitor programs and services. “You should be talking about the plants." At Monticello, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and other plantations across the South, an effort is underway to deal more honestly with the brutal institution that the Founding Fathers relied on to build their homes and their wealth: slavery. Four hundred years after the first enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia, some sites are also connecting that ugly past to modern-day racism and inequality. The changes have begun to draw people long alienated by the sites’ whitewashing of the past and to satisfy what staff call a hunger for real history, as plantations add slavery-focused tours, rebuild cabins and reconstruct the lives of the enslaved with help from their descendants. But some visitors, who remain overwhelmingly white, are pushing back, and the very mention of slavery and its impacts on the United States can bring accusations of playing politics. “We’re at a very polarized, partisan political moment in our country, and not surprisingly, when we are in those moments, history becomes equally polarized,” Sandling said. The backlash is reflected in some online reviews of plantations, including McLeod in Charleston, S.C., where one visitor complained earlier this summer that she “didn’t come to hear a lecture on how the white people treated slaves.” The review sparked shock as it made rounds on the Internet. But stories of guests’ discomfort are familiar to many on the front lines at historical sites steeped in slavery: the tour guides, reenactors and other staff with an up-close view of how Americans think and talk about a shameful past. A shifting message: There was a time when visitors “would not have heard the word ‘slave’ in this house,” David Ronka said early on in a 105-minute dive into the lives of the best-known enslaved family at Monticello, the Hemingses. Visitors might have heard references to “Mr. Jefferson’s people,” said the veteran guide. Or maybe “the souls of his family,” a phrase from the author of the Declaration of Independence who owned more than 600 enslaved people over his lifetime. Now, Monticello’s guides, called “interpreters,” tell their nearly half a million visitors a year about “enslaved people.” “Slave” is a noun, Ronka said as other tour groups’ footsteps shuffled overhead. “Enslaved” is a condition, he added: a way to talk about people defined by more than their bondage. “We’ve been waiting, you know, for this story, for this amount of truth about the past,” said Niya Bates, Monticello’s director of African American history. The truth came gradually, starting in the 1990s with an effort to gather oral histories and a tour on slavery. Last year, Monticello opened a room once home to Sally Hemings amid growing evidence that Jefferson fathered her children. Interpreters talk about what Ronka calls the “central irony” of the nation’s third president, who said he hated slavery, at some points advocating against it, but freed just seven of the hundreds of men and women he owned.
By Christina Maxouris, CNN
For nearly 100 years, the "Red Summer" as it was called by NAACP field secretary James Weldon Johnson because of its explosive violence and bloodshed, went overlooked and forgotten. "The Red Summer doesn't fit into the stories we tell ourselves about US history," Krugler says. "It's also a very prominent example of another feature of American history that we don't like to fully acknowledge."
(CNN) - Two Swarthmore University fraternity chapters say they are closing their doors in response to allegations of racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior against past members that emerged in recent weeks. The disturbing accounts were included in documents from 2013 to 2016 that were leaked to two campus publications earlier this month. One of them, the 117-page "Phi Psi Historical Archive," included rape jokes and racist tropes among the pages of fraternity meeting minutes and scavenger hunt lists. The documents also included crude descriptions of sexual encounters and hazing and references to another fraternity's "rape attic" and "rape tunnel."
Racism is built right into every level of our society in ways that might surprise you. Racism of this kind, racism that infects the very structure of our society, is called systemic racism. And at first glance, it may be difficult to detect. Since the election of Donald Trump, hate crimes have been on the rise. White supremacists have been emboldened. Anti-immigrant rhetoric has intensified. We condemn these awful examples of prejudice and bias and hate, but systemic racism is something different. It’s less about violence or burning crosses than it is about everyday decisions made by people who may not even think of themselves as racist. As sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva has said, "The main problem nowadays is not the folks with the hoods, but the folks dressed in suits.
In the span of 10 days before the midterm elections, Americans saw four terrifying new faces of hate crime. These were men whose festering ideological grievances were exacerbated by a mental illness or personality disorder. They were engaged with fellow haters on social media, but isolated from society. Their economic prospects were dim. For each, there was a point in life where they turned toward violence, and an incident that seems to have given them the final push. Their targets covered the waterfront of hate — Jews. African Americans. Women. Political opponents. And their cases crashed into the national consciousness in in a span of 240 hours.
The mere existence of the KKK is enough cause for both alarm and questioning of our federal government as to why an outright racist, violently hateful organization has been allowed to exist for so long, but apparently, conservative media personality Tomi Lahren didn’t get that memo.
By Doug Criss and Tina Burnside
(CNN)An African-American woman is now the publisher and editor of the Alabama newspaper that recently urged the Ku Klux Klan to "night ride again," the paper said. Elecia R. Dexter, a "strategic leader with expertise in human resources, operations and change management," took up the positions Thursday, the weekly Democrat-Reporter of Linden said in a press release. Dexter replaces Goodloe Sutton, the newspaper's owner who penned a staggering editorial with the headline "The Klan Needs to Ride Again" in the paper's February 14 edition. Dexter's family has "strong roots and a rich history in Marengo County where her dad, John Dexter Jr. was born," the newspaper said. Sutton's editorial sparked outrage around the country. "Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again," Sutton wrote. "Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama." Sutton told the Montgomery Advertiser he urged the white supremacist group to "clean out D.C." via lynchings. "We'll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them," Sutton told the newspaper. He stressed that he wasn't calling for the hangings of all Americans, just the "socialist-communists." "Seem like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there," Sutton wrote in the editorial. Beginning in the late 19th century, Klan members used night rides to terrorize blacks and their white allies with violence, including lynchings and firebombings. When asked by the Advertiser if he recognized the Klan as a white supremacist group, Sutton compared it to the NAACP and said, "The Klan wasn't violent until they needed to be."
Alt-right beliefs have been described as isolationist, protectionist, antisemitic and white supremacist, frequently overlapping with neo-Nazism, identitarianism, nativism and Islamophobia, antifeminism, misogyny and homophobia, right-wing populism and the neoreactionary movement. The concept has further been associated with several groups such as American nationalists, paleoconservatives, anarcho-capitalists, national-anarchists, paleolibertarians, Christian fundamentalists, neo-monarchists, men's rights advocates and the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
The Alternative Right, commonly known as the "alt-right," is a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that “white identity” is under attack by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and “their” civilization.
The Trump administration's policy of separating parents and children who ... has roots inslave and Native American families being ripped apart.
Pro-Trump hate groups are praising Russia and its ‘macho’ leader after the president’s summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
By Kelly Weill
While President Donald Trump pals around with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the U.S.’s racist right is making open overtures to Russian white supremacists. One day after Trump’s disastrous summit with Putin last week, the League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group, announced that it would launch a Russian-language site. The southern secessionist group’s crush on Russia is the latest appeal by U.S. white supremacists to Russia and Putin—an alliance that has strengthened during the Trump presidency. “Russia is our friend,” a group of torch-waving racists chanted during an October rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. “The South will rise again.” The event was headed by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who has been stumping for Russia before Trump took office. Spencer, who advocates for “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” has promoted Russia as the kind of ethnostate he wants to create, calling it “the sole white power in the world” in 2016. Until October 2016, Spencer was married to Nina Kouprianova, a Putin apologist who translates the writings of Russian fascist Alexander Dugin. The white supremacists’ chant of “Russia is our friend. The South will rise again,” summarized several years of neo-Confederate flirtation with Russia. Despite groups like League of the South decrying “globalism,” the movement’s leaders have long looked to Russia as an ideological ally.
Trump says silent because “radical Islamic terrorists” aren’t part of his voting base – and “white supremacist terrorists” are. Remember how Donald Trump used to accuse the Democrats of political correctness on the subject of terrorism? “These are radical Islamic terrorists and she won’t even mention the word and nor will President Obama,” declaimed the then Republican presidential candidate in his second debate against Hillary Clinton in October 2016. But what about Trump’s own political correctness? Over the course of his 14 months in office, the president has pointedly refused to use the term “white supremacist terrorist”. He has turned a blind eye to a wave of shootings, stabbings and bombings carried out not by radicalised Muslims but by radicalised white men. He has ignored the fact – documented in a range of studies – that Americans are much more likely to be the victims of a “white supremacist terrorist” than a “radical Islamic terrorist”. (According to the Investigative Fund, an independent journalism organisation, “far-right plots and attacks outnumber Islamist incidents by almost two to one.”)
By Elizabeth Weise
In 2018, a black supervisor at a GM plant in Ohio reported five nooses hung in his work area over several months. One of his white staffers told him, "back in the day, you would have been buried with a shovel." That same year, a man in Riverside, California, was videotaped hanging a noose on the fence between his house and the house of a mixed-race couple. In September, a white high school student put a noose around the neck of a black classmate in Ouachita, Louisiana. In October, a retired firefighter in Grapevine, Texas, hung a doll by the neck on the railing in front of a black neighbor's apartment in an attempt to intimidate the family. Lynching may seem like something out of the distant past, but the use of lynching symbolism to terrify, intimidate and curtail the lives of black Americans is very much happening today, say civil rights advocates.
During a speech commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Columbus, South Carolina, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called President Trump “a racist.” To cheers from the crowd, Sanders went on to call out Trump for his policy decisions and rhetoric, saying that they have divided the country along lines of race, gender, and country of origin.
If elected president, Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke said he’d launch a $5 trillion plan to combat climate change and invest in communities already dealing with its impact. "Climate change has a distressingly disproportionate impact on poor and minority communities across the United States and around the world," said O’Rourke in his plan released April 29. "Race is the No. 1 indicator for where toxic and polluting facilities are today." We rated Mostly False another claim in O’Rourke’s plan regarding the number of people with "unsafe" drinking water. This time, we wondered if he was right about race and the placement of toxic facilities. O'Rourke's claim mirrors a statement by an NAACP program that highlights environmental and climate issues affecting communities of color and low-income, and draws from a 2016 editorial in The Nation citing examples of "environmental racism." We asked about half a dozen experts to weigh in to help us evaluate the claim and O’Rourke’s evidence. They said that while different types of studies can yield varying results, there’s research supporting O’Rourke’s point.
Most lynchings were of African-American men in the South, but women were also lynched, and white lynchings of blacks occurred in Midwestern and border states, especially during the 20th-century Great Migration of blacks out of the South. The political message — the demonstration of white male supremacy and black male impotence — was a key element of the ritual.
African Americans in a rural Virginia county worried they were at risk after hearing that an emergency medical technician made racist comments on a white supremacist podcast. "I'm mad as hell is bad," one man said, as a series of people demanded action from officials in Patrick County. Residents were outraged at comments made by Alex McNabb, who cohosts a podcast in which he has compared black patients to gorillas and claimed "immense satisfaction" as he "terrorized" an African American boy with a needle in an emergency room. McNabb also addressed the meeting, which became heated. Supervisors decided to do nothing, refusing to take up calls to cut funding to the rescue service that employs McNabb.
In the night of 21 November 1919, a mob of Great Southern Lumber company gunman and Klan-type vigilantes organized in a “Self-Preservation and Loyalty League” (SPLL) showed up at the home of Sol Dacus, the head of the black section of the International Union of Timber Workers in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The gunmen riddled his house with bullets, narrowly missing both Dacus and his wife and children. This assault set the stage for the climax in a long struggle by two American Federation of Labor (AFL) unions to organize what was then the largest sawmill in the world. Evading the posse, Dacus showed up in town the next day. The sight was so extraordinary that it made the national news. The New York Times (23 November1919) reported: “This morning, to the surprise of the Loyalty League men, the Negro they sought emerged from his hiding-place and walked boldly down the principal street of the town. On either side of him was an armed white man.....” Dacus was flanked by J. P. Bouchillon and Stanley O’Rourke, two white unionists, who had volunteered to accompany him to union headquarters, toting shot guns. This action was so threatening that the Great Southern blew the mill’s siren whistle – the “riot” signal – in order to remobilize its posse and simultaneously secured an arrest warrant against O’Rourke and Bouchillon for “disturbing the peace.” That was easy enough, considering that Great Southern’s General Manager Sullivan was also the mayor of this nakedly company town. The company also maintained the largest private army in Louisiana. A horde of gun thugs and SPLL men converged on the union offices, located in the auto repair shop run by Central Trades and Labor Council President Lem Williams. According to the company version, which was duly parroted by the Times, a small group of seven men in the office opened fire on the 150 “deputies.” Far more credible is the account by Louisiana AFL President Frank Morrison in a 4 February 1920 letter to the NAACP:
The Tulsa race riot of 1921 Took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of whites attacked black residents and businesses of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is considered one of the worst incidents of racial violence in the history of the United States. The attack, carried out on the ground and by air, destroyed more than 35 blocks of the district, at the time the wealthiest black community in the United States. More than 800 people were admitted to hospitals and more than 6,000 black residents were arrested and detained, many for several days. The Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics officially recorded 36 dead, but the American Red Cross declined to provide an estimate. When a state commission re-examined events in 2001, its report estimated that 100-300 African Americans were killed in the rioting.
By Peter Beinart
When Democrats are accused of anti-Semitism, Republicans understand that coded language can be hurtful. But Trump’s racist comments get a pass. Most of the time, conservatives and Republicans want the bar for what constitutes bigotry to be set extremely high. When President Donald Trump tweeted last weekend that four nonwhite Democrats in Congress should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” he offered a textbook example of racism. Trump’s own Equal Employment Opportunity Commission uses the phrase Go back to where you came from as one of its examples of discrimination based on national origin. Yet Trump insisted that “those Tweets were NOT Racist”—even as he doubled down on them by launching an attack on Representative Ilhan Omar that prompted rally-goers in North Carolina on Wednesday night to chant “Send her back!” At the same time that Trump was denying charges of bigotry, however, he was also leveling them. At the North Carolina rally, he accused Omar of “vicious anti-Semitic” remarks—a reference to her tweet that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s influence in Washington is “all about the Benjamins” and her allegation that pro-Israel groups “push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Those comments—which evoked hoary stereotypes of Jews as money-driven and disloyal—elicited criticism even from Democrats, and Omar apologized for the first. But however damning one considers her statements, it’s utterly illogical to claim that they constitute bigotry while Trump’s far more direct attack does not. Yet this is exactly what Trump and other prominent Republicans are doing.
Discrimination based on skin color, also known as colorism or shadeism, is a form of prejudice or discrimination usually from members of the same race in which people are treated differently based on the social implications from cultural meanings attached to skin color.
Research has found extensive evidence of discrimination based on skin color in criminal justice, business, the economy, housing, health care, media, and politics in the United States and Europe. Lighter skin tones are seen as preferable in many countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
Donald Trump may have failed to disavow the Ku Klux Klan in late February, but he’ll have you know he is not racist. In fact, he claims to be “the least racist person that you have ever met,” and last summer he pulled out the old standby about not having a racist bone in his body. But he hasn’t given us a lot of reason to believe that. In fact, despite Trump’s protests to the contrary, he has a long history of saying and doing racist things. It’s not really surprising that he’s won the support and praise of the country’s white supremacists.
Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that the Constitution of the United States was not meant to include American citizenship for black people, regardless of whether they were enslaved or free, and therefore the rights and privileges it confers upon American citizens could not apply to them. The plaintiff in the case was Dred Scott, an enslaved black man whose owners had taken him from Missouri, which was a slave-holding state, into the Missouri Territory, most of which had been designated "free" territory by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. When his owners later brought him back to Missouri, Scott sued in court for his freedom, claiming that because he had been taken into "free" U.S. territory, he had automatically been freed, and was legally no longer a slave. Scott sued first in Missouri state court, which ruled that he was still a slave under its law. He then sued in U.S. federal court, which ruled against him by deciding that it had to apply Missouri law to the case. He then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In March 1857, the Supreme Court issued a 7–2 decision against Dred Scott. In an opinion written by Chief Justice Roger Taney, the Court ruled that black people "are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States." Taney supported his ruling with an extended survey of American state and local laws from the time of the Constitution's drafting in 1787 purporting to show that a "perpetual and impassable barrier was intended to be erected between the white race and the one which they had reduced to slavery." Because the Court ruled that Scott was not an American citizen, any federal lawsuit he filed automatically failed because he could never establish the "diversity of citizenship" that Article III of the U.S. Constitution requires for an American federal court to be able to exercise jurisdiction over a case. After ruling on these issues surrounding Scott, Taney continued further and struck down the entire Missouri Compromise as a limitation on slavery that exceeded the U.S. Congress's powers under the Constitution. Two justices—John McLean and Benjamin Robbins Curtis—dissented from the Court's opinion, writing that the majority's historical survey was inaccurate and that legal precedent showed that some black people actually had been citizens at the time of the Constitution's creation, and also that the majority's opinion went too far in striking down the Missouri Compromise.
by Lois Beckett
The country’s refusal to pass new gun control laws has everything to do with defending racial hierarchy, says author Jonathan Metzl. Why does the United States refuse to pass new gun control laws? It’s the question that people around the world keep asking. According to Dr Jonathan Metzl, a psychiatrist and sociologist at Vanderbilt University, white supremacy is the key to understanding America’s gun debate. In his new book, Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland, Metzl argues that the intensity and polarization of the US gun debate makes much more sense when understood in the context of whiteness and white privilege. White Americans’ attempt to defend their status in the racial hierarchy by opposing issues like gun control, healthcare expansion or public school funding ends up injuring themselves, as well as hurting people of color, Metzl argues. The majority of America’s gun death victims are white men, and most of them die from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. In all, gun suicide claims the lives of 25,000 Americans each year. White Americans are “dying for a cause”, he writes, even if their form of death is often “slow, excruciating, and invisible”.
The Elaine Massacre was by far the deadliest racial confrontation in Arkansas history and possibly the bloodiest racial conflict in the history of the United States. While its deepest roots lay in the state’s commitment to white supremacy, the events in Elaine (Phillips County) stemmed from tense race relations and growing concerns about labor unions. A shooting incident that occurred at a meeting of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union escalated into mob violence on the part of the white people in Elaine and surrounding areas. Although the exact number is unknown, estimates of the number of African Americans killed by whites range into the hundreds; five white people lost their lives. The conflict began on the night of September 30, 1919, when approximately 100 African Americans, mostly sharecroppers on the plantations of white landowners, attended a meeting of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America at a church in Hoop Spur (Phillips County), three miles north of Elaine. The purpose of the meeting, one of several by black sharecroppers in the Elaine area during the previous months, was to obtain better payments for their cotton crops from the white plantation owners who dominated the area during the Jim Crow era. Black sharecroppers were often exploited in their efforts to collect payment for their cotton crops. In previous months, racial conflict had occurred in numerous cities in America, including Washington DC; Chicago, Illinois; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Indianapolis, Indiana. With labor conflicts escalating throughout the country at the end of World War I, government and business interpreted the demands of labor increasingly as the work of foreign ideologies, such as Bolshevism, that threatened the foundation of the American economy. Thrown into this highly combustible mix was the return to the United States of black soldiers who often exhibited a less submissive attitude within the Jim Crow society around them.
By David Chalmers
The Ku Klux Klan is a native-born American racist terrorist organization that helped overthrow Republican Reconstruction governments in the South after the Civil War and drive black people out of politics. It revived in the 20th Century as a social lodge and briefly became a nationwide political power. During the 1960s, the Klan fought the Civil Rights Movement in the South. Under attack in state and federal courts, in a racially changed and disapproving South, the Klan hangs on —marginally, but still violent. In the summer of 1866, six young ex-Confederate officers organized a social club. Drawing on their college Greek, they adopted the term for circle, "kuklos." They added the alliterative word "klan," and the "Ku Klux Klan" was born. Their nightly rides, in which members disguised themselves in masks and flowing robes, soon became a political successor to the prewar slave patrols in controlling newly freed blacks. Particularly across the upper South, Klansmen sought to overturn the new Republican state governments, drive black men out of politics, control black labor, and restore black subordination. Led by elites and drawing on a cross-section of white male society, the Klan's assaults and murders numbered in the thousands. Similar organizations such as the Knights of the White Camelia in Louisiana copied the Klan. more...
Journalist Robert Fieseler discusses American race relations as a social construct with Harvard instructors and anthropologists, Michael Baran and James Herron.
On Wednesday, minutes after President Trump posted an incendiary campaign ad falsely accusing Democrats of flooding the country with murderous illegal immigrants, virulent racists on an online message board erupted in celebration. “I love it. We should be making videos like this,” one said. Another approvingly compared the ad to “With Open Gates,” a viral 2015 video about the dangers of European immigration that drew praise from prominent neo-Nazis and white nationalists, and was broadly condemned by anti-hate groups. These posts, which appeared on the politics forum of 4chan, an online message board known for hosting extreme speech and graphic imagery, were not a one-off. In recent weeks, as Mr. Trump and his allies have waged a fear-based campaign to drive Republican voters to the polls for the midterm elections on Tuesday, far-right internet communities have been buoyed as their once-fringe views have been given oxygen by prominent Republicans. These activists cheered when Mr. Trump suggested that the Jewish billionaire George Soros could be secretly funding a caravan of Latin American migrants — a dog-whistle reference to an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that has been advanced by neo-Nazis and white nationalists for years. They roared their approval when Mr. Trump began stirring up fears of angry, violent left-wing mobs, another far-right boogeyman. And they have found traces of their ideas in Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, including his concern for an obscure land rights conflict involving white farmers in South Africa and his references to asylum-seeking migrants as “invaders.”
By Will Sommer
The Proud Boys claim they’re just a men’s club. But their members have been threatening critics by surprising them at home. Members of the far-right Proud Boys men’s group allegedly made a threatening late-night visit recently to the home of one of their critics, the latest in the group’s escalating actions against its detractors. Gwen Snyder, an amateur researcher in Philadelphia who tracks the group’s movements, wasn’t at home when a group of men visited her residence around 11 p.m. on June 29. Instead, the men talked to her neighbor, according to Snyder, and warned that Snyder needed to stop posting the names of Proud Boys members and other information on Twitter. “You tell that fat bitch she better stop,” one of the Proud Boys allegedly said, according to Snyder. The Proud Boys, a group of self-described “Western chauvinists” founded by right-wing comedian Gavin McInnes, have sought to portray themselves as a harmless fraternal organization devoted mostly to supporting Trump and drinking beer. Proud Boys regularly attend Republican events in their black-and-gold polo shirt uniforms, and Proud Boys have served as a security detail for former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone. Even as they’ve been embraced by some parts of the Republican Party, Proud Boys have repeatedly violently attacked counterprotesters. Proud Boys in New York City and Portland are currently facing criminal charges over violence surrounding political rallies. In June, a group of Proud Boys attempted to confront people protesting Trump’s 2020 campaign kickoff in Florida, but were stopped by a line of police.
His views match those of experts within the Department of Justice — just not the White House.
Bureau spied on California activists, citing potential ‘conspiracy’ against the ‘rights’ of neo-Nazis. The FBI opened a “domestic terrorism” investigation into a civil rights group in California, labeling the activists “extremists” after they protested against neo-Nazis in 2016, new documents reveal. Federal authorities ran a surveillance operation on By Any Means Necessary (Bamn), spying on the leftist group’s movements in an inquiry that came after one of Bamn’s members was stabbed at the white supremacist rally, according to documents obtained by the Guardian. The FBI’s Bamn files reveal: The FBI investigated Bamn for potential “conspiracy” against the “rights” of the “Ku Klux Klan” and white supremacists. The FBI considered the KKK as victims and the leftist protesters as potential terror threats, and downplayed the threats of the Klan, writing: “The KKK consisted of members that some perceived to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda.” The FBI’s monitoring included in-person surveillance, and the agency cited Bamn’s advocacy against “rape and sexual assault” and “police brutality” as evidence in the terrorism inquiry. The FBI’s 46-page report on Bamn, obtained by the government transparency non-profit Property of the People through a records request, presented an “astonishing” description of the KKK, said Mike German, a former FBI agent and far-right expert who reviewed the documents for the Guardian. The report ignored “100 years of Klan terrorism that has killed thousands of Americans and continues using violence right up to the present day”, German said. “This description of the KKK should be an embarrassment to FBI leadership.” Shanta Driver, Bamn’s national chair, criticized the investigation in a statement to the Guardian, saying, “The FBI’s interest in BAMN is part of a long-standing policy … Starting with their campaign to persecute and slander Dr. Martin Luther King, they have a racist history of targeting peaceful civil rights and anti-racist organizations, while doing nothing to prosecute the racists and fascists who attacked Dr. King and the movement he built.” The FBI’s insinuation that Bamn’s actions could provoke violence was odd, said German, the former FBI agent, who is now a Brennan Center fellow. He noted that it was white supremacists “who have used this tactic for decades” and said the violent provocations of rightwing groups were well known when he worked on domestic terrorism for the FBI in the 1990s. The Bamn report, he said, gave the “appearance of favoritism toward one of the oldest and most active terrorist groups in history”. He added that the report should have made clear that the “KKK consists of members who have a bloody history of racial and antisemitic violence and intimidation and is known for staging public spectacles for the specific purpose of inciting imminent violence”.
Compare what the "Desperate Housewives" star faces to Tanya McDowell's punishment
By D. Watkins
Most people with basic common sense understand the race problem that exists in this country. They know that many black people don’t get a fair shake. But frequently I encounter honestly confused white people at book events who have little to no proximity to black people, other than authors swinging through their town to promote their race books — the single black dude who luckily made it out because of some rare opportunity, which leads them to believe everyone can, even those without the same opportunities — and who simply think that racism ended with slavery, and that systemic or structural racism doesn’t exist. So here’s a clear example for those who don’t get it. Most parents, regardless of ethnicity, economic background or social class, want their kids to receive a great education. We know that education opens doors, creates opportunities and is a key in leading a happy, meaningful life. Back in 2011 Tanya McDowell was homeless and living in her van. She wanted her five-year-old son to receive a quality education, so she enrolled him in Brookside Elementary of the Norwalk School District. He was later kicked out due to a residency issue, so he transferred to Bridgeport schools. more...
From the Collection: The Presidents Share:
At the time of Ulysses S. Grant's election to the presidency, white supremacists were conducting a reign of terror throughout the South. In outright defiance of the Republican-led federal government, Southern Democrats formed organizations that violently intimidated blacks and Republicans who tried to win political power. The most prominent of these, the Ku Klux Klan, was formed in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1865. Originally founded as a social club for former Confederate soldiers, the Klan evolved into a terrorist organization. It would be responsible for thousands of deaths, and would help to weaken the political power of Southern blacks and Republicans. Racist activity in the South often took the form of riots that targeted blacks and Republicans. In 1866, a quarrel between whites and black ex-soldiers erupted into a full-fledged riot in Memphis, Tennessee. White policemen assisted the mobs in their violent rampage through the black sections of town. By the time the violence ended, 46 people were dead, 70 more were wounded, and numerous churches and schools had been burned. Just two months later, on July 30, a similar outbreak of violence erupted in New Orleans. This time, a white mob attacked the attendees of a black suffrage convention, killing 37 blacks and three whites who allied with them. In this violent atmosphere, the Ku Klux Klan grew in size and strength. By 1868, the Klan had evolved into a hooded terrorist organization that its members called "The Invisible Empire of the South." The reorganized Klan's first leader, or "Grand Wizard," was Nathan Bedford Forrest, who had been a Confederate general during the Civil War.
FDR nominated the Alabama Senator as his first U.S. Supreme Court nominee.
By Thad Morgan
During his time on the Supreme Court, Justice Hugo Black voted to desegregate schools, expand freedom of the press and help protect housing options for minorities. He was also a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. While Black’s liberal leanings during this New Deal era, would not seem to fit with membership in the KKK, part of his motivation for joining in 1923 was political. Following years of working as a trial lawyer, Black was attempting to appeal to southern Democrats as he planned his run for the U.S. Senate from Alabama.
The legacy of such brutal, racist murders is still largely ignored. Historians broadly agree that lynchings were a method of social and racial control meant to terrorize black Americans into submission, and into an inferior racial caste position. They became widely practiced in the US south from roughly 1877, the end of post-civil war reconstruction, through 1950. A typical lynching would involve criminal accusations, often dubious, against a black American, an arrest, and the assembly of a “lynch mob” intent on subverting the normal constitutional judicial process. Victims would be seized and subjected to every imaginable manner of physical torment, with the torture usually ending with being hung from a tree and set on fire. More often than not, victims would be dismembered and mob members would take pieces of their flesh and bone as souvenirs. In a great many cases, the mobs were aided and abetted by law enforcement (indeed, they often were the same people). Officers would routinely leave a black inmate’s jail cell unguarded after rumors of a lynching began to circulate to allow for a mob to kill them before any trial or legal defense could take place.
A mix of journalistic mistakes and partisan hackery advanced a pernicious lie about Democrats and the Klan.
By Jennifer Mendelsohn and Peter A. Shulman
Earlier this month, a hashtag made its way across Twitter: “#triggeraliberalin4words.” Kambree Kawahine Koa, whose bio identifies her as a “political news contributor,” scored big with her offering, which garnered almost 10,000 likes and close to 1,000 replies. “The Democrats created KKK,” she tweeted over a photo of a Klan march captioned: “This photo was taken at the 1924 Democratic Convention. It was known as the ‘Klanbake’ (just in case you want to Google it).” The only problem? There was no Klan march at the 1924 Democratic convention — the photo was actually taken in Wisconsin — nor was the convention ever actually known as the “Klanbake.” The convention was indeed infamous for taking 103 ballots and more than two weeks to nominate a presidential candidate, John W. Davis. Delegates wrangled over a host of contentious issues, the Klan among them.
By Michael Harriot
Here’s a joke: What’s the difference between a Klan rally and a Republican Convention? Answer: The dress code. Here’s another one: How white is the Republican Party? According to Pew Research, 83 percent of the registered voters who identify as Republican are non-Hispanic whites. The Republican Party is whiter than Tilda Swinton riding a polar bear in a snowstorm to a Taylor Swift concert. Why isn’t anyone laughing? Is this thing on? And not only is the Grand Ole Party unapologetically white, recently it has been disposing of its dog whistles in favor of bullhorns, becoming more unabashedly racist every day. Aside from its leader excusing a white supremacist murder, calling Mexicans “rapists,” referring to “shithole countries” and settling multiple discrimination lawsuits, there is an abundance of evidence that shows the party’s racism. Nearly half of the country (49 percent) believes Donald Trump is racist but 86 percent of Republicans say he is not, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. The same survey shows that 79 percent of Republicans approve of the way the president handles race. Other data points include:
Democratic defectors, known as the “Dixiecrats,” started a switch to the Republican party in a movement that was later fueled by a so-called "Southern strategy."
By Becky Little
The night that Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, his special assistant Bill Moyers was surprised to find the president looking melancholy in his bedroom. Moyers later wrote that when he asked what was wrong, Johnson replied, “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come.” It may seem a crude remark to make after such a momentous occasion, but it was also an accurate prediction. To understand some of the reasons the South went from a largely Democratic region to a primarily Republican area today, just follow the decades of debate over racial issues in the United States. The Republican party was originally founded in the mid-1800s to oppose immigration and the spread of slavery, says David Goldfield, whose new book on American politics, The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good, comes out in November. “The Republican party was strictly a sectional party, meaning that it just did not exist in the South,” he says. “The South couldn’t care less about immigration.” But it did care about preserving slavery.
By QUINT FORGEY
Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday accused Donald Trump of long-harbored and deep-seated “inherent racism,” as the president has launched into another week of fiery attacks on the Minnesota Democrat and three other freshman progressive congresswomen. “Right now, even when we’re talking about the president, people will say, you know, his remarks are racist, and we’ll forget the inherent racism that has always been part of him,” Omar said, criticizing how Trump “always takes an opportunity to others to vilify them and destroy their existence and ability to access our justice system.” Omar went on to cite Trump’s calls three decades ago to reinstate the death penalty amid the “Central Park Five” case — a campaign by the real estate mogul that Omar characterized Tuesday as “going out of your way to ask for lynching for five innocent young men.” Omar’s remarks at the Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy conference in Washington came less than an hour after Trump namechecked the lawmaker in a tweet, referencing her and the liberal House Democrats he has also repeatedly strafed: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Columbia, South Carolina -- Former Vice President Joe Biden rang the alarm that "Jim Crow is sneaking back" at a campaign rally in South Carolina, the south's first primary state that is seen as key to clinching the Democratic nomination. Biden launched his third bid for the presidency on April 25 in Pennsylvania, and crisscrossed Iowa before heading to South Carolina this weekend. Biden held a campaign rally Saturday in Columbia, the Palmetto State's capital and home to the University of South Carolina. Bidden added to his usual fighting-for-the-middle-class stump speech by calling for protecting voting rights and ending "systemic racism." Biden cited numerous states' voting laws which he said are "mostly directed at people of color."
This is a list of examples of Jim Crow laws, which were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. Jim Crow laws existed mainly in the South and originated from the Black Codes that were passed from 1865 to 1866 and from prewar segregation on railroad cars in northern cities. The laws sprouted up in the late 19th century after Reconstruction and lasted until the 1960s
“It shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to play together or in company with each other in any game of cards or dice, dominoes or checkers.” “Separate free schools shall be established for the education of children of African descent; and it shall be unlawful for any colored child to attend any white school, or any white child to attend a colored school.” “All railroads carrying passengers in the state (other than street railroads) shall provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races, by providing two or more passenger cars for each passenger train, or by dividing the cars by a partition, so as to secure separate accommodations.”
By Ephrat Livni
The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that allows criminal convictions based on jury verdicts that aren’t unanimous. Justice Brett Kavanaugh pointed out that the Louisiana law had racist roots. He noted that there were two “practical reasons” to overrule the precedent the state relied on. One was unfairness to defendants who may well have a constitutional right to a unanimous jury, and the other was the law’s apparently racist intent. “The rule in question here is rooted in a—in racism, you know, rooted in a desire, apparently, to diminish the voices of black jurors,” the justice told the state’s solicitor general, Elizabeth Murrill. “Why aren’t those two things enough to overrule… unfairness to defendants and rooted in racism?” he asked Murrill. She replied that the law was not “fundamentally unfair.” But Kavanaugh didn’t look convinced. Although the conservative justice seems a somewhat unlikely champion of minorities, he recently also authored the majority opinion in a case reversing a quadruple murder conviction based on a racist jury selection process and is actually steeped in the topic. The opinion was an eloquent condemnation of racism. Kavanaugh’s unexpected question was just one sign that, as ever, it will be impossible to predict where the justices fall on any issue until they reveal their decisions. In the jury case, Stanford University law school professor Jeffrey Fisher argued for the petitioner, Evangelista Ramos, that the Louisiana law is unconstitutional. Although a unanimous jury trial is guaranteed in federal criminal cases, Louisiana argues that it has leeway under Supreme Court precedent to create its own standards and that Ramos’s conviction for murder by a jury verdict of 10-2 should stand. Fisher argued that a unanimous jury verdict of even just six people is more trustworthy than a decision reached without unanimity by a majority of 12 or 20 or more. Justice Neil Gorsuch acknowledged “the functionalist argument about numbers,” and then asked dismissively: “Got anything else?” more
By Zack Ford
The poem only refers to welcoming "people from Europe," he claimed this week. Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was roundly criticized for comments he made Tuesday on NPR suggesting that the Statue of Liberty’s poem was only meant to welcome immigrants “who can stand on their own two feet.” Tuesday evening, he doubled down by suggesting the poem only applied to “people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies.” CNN host Erin Burnett was grilling Cuccinelli about his earlier remarks, noting that the Emma Lazarus poem The New Colossus, written in 1883 and inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in 1903, specifically describes people who have nothing. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” the poem excerpt reads, “the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” It does not refer to people who can “stand on their own two feet,” as Cuccinelli had said earlier in the day. Burnett asked Cuccinelli what he believed America stood for. Cuccinelli responded that the poem only referred to class-based societies in Europe, “where people were considered ‘wretched’ if they weren’t in the right class.”
A break down of the deadly attacks attributed to the rise in far-right violence in the United States. Over the past 16 years, the number of far-right attacks in the United States has grown to an average of 300 per year, according to a study by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Since the election of right-wing US President Donald Trump in November, researchers and activists say far-right groups have been emboldened to carry out more hate crimes. The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organisation that monitors hate groups, recorded an average of 87 hate incidents a day during the ten-day period after Trump’s elections. This is five times the daily average of hate crimes recorded by the FBI in 2015.
By CHLOE KIM
CLAIM: The Ku Klux Klan was formed by the Democratic Party. AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The Ku Klux Klan was not formed by the Democratic Party. THE FACTS: The Klan first emerged after the Civil War in an effort to intimidate Southern blacks to stay out of politics and to exploit their labor. It was created in Pulaski, Tennessee, by Confederate veterans: Frank McCord, Richard Reed, John Lester, John Kennedy, J. Calvin Jones and James Crowe. Mark Pitcavage, senior fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told The Associated Press that it was originally designed “purely for entertainment, with no political motivations.” Pitcavage said members engaged in social antics that grew to incorporate cruel pranks. The Klan gradually took on a political tone and by 1867 it began engaging in violent acts. According to Pitcavage, many KKK members were Democrats since the Whig Party had died out and white Southerners disliked the Republican party. He says, though, that the Klan was not started by the Democratic Party “ nor did it have ideological motives until later.” By the 1870s the Klan had died out since white Southerners had retaken control of state governments “through their campaigns of violence and intimidation.” When a new Klan emerged in the 1910s, it attracted members from both parties, as well as members affiliated with no parties.
The Ku Klux Klan was a domestic terror organization from its beginning, said Pilgrim, who finds it offensive when, after 9/11, some Americans would bemoan that terrorism had finally breached U.S. borders. “That is ignoring and trivializing — if not just summarily dismissing — all the people, especially the peoples of color in this country, who were lynched in this country; who had their homes bombed in this country; who were victims of race riots,” he said. Victims of lynching were often burned, castrated, shot, stabbed and, in some cases, beheaded. Bodies were then hung or dragged through towns for display. - The KKK and white supremacist have killed more Americans in America than any external terror organization, but are not listed as the domestic terror organizations they are. If Black lives mattered in America, the KKK and other white supremacist groups would be branded as the domestic terrorist groups they are.
By Ed Pilkington
Top capital lawyers head to North Carolina as judges consider the cases of four inmates who faced ‘bleached’ juries
Death row inmate Marcus Robinson listens in court. Marcus Robinson, a death row inmate, listens in court. The dark secret of America’s death penalty – the blatant and intentional racial bias that infects the system, distorting juries and throwing inordinate numbers of African Americans on to death row – will be laid bare next week in North Carolina. Some of the country’s top capital lawyers will gather on Monday at the state supreme court in Raleigh. Over two days, they will present evidence that capital punishment is so deeply flawed and riddled with racial animus that it makes a mockery of basic principles of fairness and equal justice. The court’s seven judges will be asked to address a simple question. Will they allow men and women to be condemned to die despite powerful evidence that prosecutors deployed racially discriminatory tactics to put them on death row? “We are taking an unprecedented look at whether the courts will tolerate proven racial bias in the death penalty,” said one of the case’s leading lawyers, Cassandra Stubbs, director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) capital punishment project. “We’re talking about fundamental rights that go to the integrity of the courts and the entire criminal justice system.” At the heart of the case are four inmates facing execution: three African American men and a Native American woman. Over the past seven years Marcus Robinson, Quintel Augustine, Tilmon Golphin and Christina Walters have been on an extraordinary judicial roller coaster that has seen them taken off death row on grounds that their sentences were racially compromised, only to be slapped back on to it following a partisan backlash by the Republican-controlled state legislature. In all four cases, a review of their trials found racial bias had been an “overwhelming” feature of how death sentences were secured. In particular, the juries had been “bleached”.