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    Civil Rights Group Launches Campaign Demanding Sony Pictures Entertainment Fire Co-Chairman Amy Pascal

    ColorOfChange demands meeting with executives at Sony Pictures Entertainment to discuss troubling workplace philosophy and culture Statement from Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org:


    “It's quite possible Amy Pascal thought the outrageously offensive ‘jokes’ she emailed to colleagues at Sony Pictures Entertainment would never see the light of day. Well, she was wrong. Her actions were unacceptable, and are indicative of larger problems at Sony Pictures. Thus far, over 32,000 ColorOfChange members have already called on Amy Pascal to be fired. We demand a meeting with Sony Pictures executives to discuss the troubling workplace culture that created this mess, as well as a path forward for the company.

    “The ease with which Pascal’s sentiments were shared — which included speculation over President Obama's favorite films ('Django,' '12 years,' 'Or the butler. Or think like a man?,' 'Ride Along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.'), as well as the assertion that TV deals for celebrities are "the new Black babies" of Hollywood -- tell us all we need to know about the deeply problematic philosophy and environment at Sony.

    “They also reflect a continued marginalization of Black entertainers and exploitation of Black audiences at Sony, a company that has made over $1 billion dollars from films with predominantly Black casts, or with Black actors or actresses in leading roles, since 2011. Her outrageous behavior begs the question: How lucrative do Black entertainers and films need to be — and how loyal do Black audiences need to be — for executives like Amy Pascal to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve, both on and off screen?

    “Additionally, the images of Black people we see across our media landscape shape the perceptions of viewers. When those perceptions are acted upon, they can mean real-life harm for Black people; less attention from doctors, harsher sentences from judges, and discriminatory practices in the workplace, just to name a few. Judging by what these tasteless jokes say about Amy Pascal’s attitudes towards Black people, we don’t think she has any business sitting at the top of an influential, media juggernaut like Sony Pictures Entertainment.

    “The problems plaguing the entertainment industry don’t begin or end with Amy Pascal. That’s why we’ve launched represent.colorofchange.org; as an organization we are committed to working towards a media landscape that presents fair, humanizing images of Black people.

    “It is imperative that Amy Pascal is held accountable here, and that Sony Pictures Entertainment confronts a corporate agenda that seems to view Black America as one big, lucrative joke.”

    ###


    With over 900,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.


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    DEATH PENALTY 2014: FEWEST EXECUTIONS IN 20 YEARS FEWEST DEATH SENTENCES IN 40 YEARS

    Seven Death Row Inmates Exonerated, Highest in Five years


    (Washington, D.C.) With 35 executions this year, 2014 marks the fewest people put to death since 1994, according to a report released today by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). The 72 new death sentences in 2014[*] is the lowest number in the modern era of the death penalty, dating back to 1974. Executions and sentences have steadily decreased, as Americans have grown more skeptical of capital punishment. The states’ problems with lethal injections also contributed to the drop in executions this year.

    Executions decreased 10% compared to 2013 – from 39 last year to 35 this year – continuing an overall decline since 1999, when there were 98 executions. The number of states carrying out executions – seven – was the lowest in 25 years. Just three states – Texas, Missouri, and Florida – accounted for 80% of the executions. For the first time in 17 years, Texas did not lead the country in executions, being tied with Missouri at 10.

    Death sentences—a more current barometer than executions—have declined by 77% since 1996, when there were 315. There were 79 death sentences last year. This is the fourth year in a row that there have been fewer than 100 death sentences.

    “The relevancy of the death penalty in our criminal justice system is seriously in question when 43 out of our 50 states do not apply the ultimate sanction,” said Richard Dieter, DPIC’s Executive Director and the author of the report. “The U.S. will likely continue with some executions in the years ahead, but the rationale for such sporadic use is far from clear.”

    Read DPIC’s “The Death Penalty in 2014: Year End Report” at http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/YearEnd2014

    An infographic illustrating the declining use of the death penalty can be found at http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/YearEnd2014

    A short video summary of DPIC’s Year End Report is available at http://youtu.be/P84xZcubHco.

    Seven people who had been on death row were exonerated in 2014, the most since 2009. Three men in Ohio were cleared of all charges 39 years after their convictions, the longest time of any death row exonerees. Two others in North Carolina were freed after 30 years in confinement. Since 1973, 150 people have been exonerated and freed from death row.

    Individual state developments illustrate the growing isolation of death penalty use:

    The number of executions has declined in 11 of the past 15 years. In 1999, 20 states carried out executions; in 2014, only 7 states did so.

    For the seventh year in a row, Texas had fewer than a dozen death sentences, a sharp decline from 1999, when it had 48.[†]

    California (14) and Florida (11) provided 35% of the death sentences in the country.

    Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced that no executions would take place while he is governor, joining the governors of Oregon and Colorado in halting executions.

    In California, a federal judge declared the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.

    Mental disabilities loomed as an emerging issue in 2014. The Supreme Court struck down Florida’s restrictive standards for determining intellectual disability in capital cases. The pending execution of a paranoid schizophrenic inmate in Texas (Scott Panetti) drew opposition from evangelical leaders, mental health professionals, and many others. A federal court stayed the execution with just hours to spare.

    ###


    The Death Penalty Information Center (www.deathpenaltyinfo.org) is a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. DPIC was founded in 1990 and prepares in-depth reports, issues press releases, conducts briefings for the media, and serves as a resource to those working on this issue.

    [*] Two weeks remain in 2014, but based on DPIC’s tracking of pending cases, the total number of death sentences will likely remain at 72, with an increase of one or two still possible, still the lowest number in 40 years.

    [†] A Texas-specific report is being released by another organization: see “Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2014: The Year in Review” at .


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    BEND THE ARC AT JUSTICE FOR ALL MARCH: “WE STAND WITH YOU”

    CEO Stosh Cotler Delivers Remarks at Protest Against Police Violence


    WASHINGTON DC - Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc, participated today in the “Justice for All” march in Washington DC protesting police violence against the Black community, and was invited by march organizers to be one of the featured speakers.

    Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery:

    My name is Stosh Cotler, I am the CEO of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and I thank you for inviting us to join you today.

    I'm here to represent the American Jewish community- itself a diverse community including many Jews of color- and I am here to affirm three words: Black Lives Matter.

    The central prayer of the Jewish people begins with the Hebrew word sh'ma. It means listen. I want to tell you that American Jews are listening.

    We have heard the cries from the families of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin.

    We have heard the last words spoken by Eric Garner.

    We have heard the chants in the streets and the chants in the hearts of our sisters and brothers who are crying out with the most essential demand a human being can make: to count. To matter.

    Black. Lives. Matter.

    And it is not enough for us to listen.

    American Jews have stood before with our black sisters and brothers in the Civil Rights Era. Now it is time for us to stand again, to march again with you. The present demands our full and complete participation.

    My heart is broken that in the year 2014 it is still urgent, necessary, and even radical to affirm that Black Lives Matter. Yet even while my heart breaks open I am deeply inspired by the courageous young people of color who have sustained protests for 126 days in Ferguson and beyond.

    Many of you are here and you make us all proud.

    You are advocating, praying, and putting your bodies on the line to demand an end to the murder of black people and an end to the destruction of black communities across the United States.

    And we stand with you.

    You have already indicted America. You have forced us all to recognize the painful legacy of slavery, the daily injustices experienced by communities of color, and the devastating consequences of the New Jim Crow.

    We stand with you.

    AND, you have provided a clear and powerful path forward. From police accountability to transforming the overarching conditions that shape the daily lives of black communities—from housing to education to jobs with livable wages….

    We stand with you.

    Piecemeal solutions are not enough—a comprehensive plan with the will and commitment to carry it out is necessary to end systemic racism.

    My friends: Young leaders have always been at the forefront, pushing us to confront injustice head-on. Our task in this formidable moment is to join WITH them as they lead us in the march forward.

    American Jews, it is time to listen to these brave young leaders. Listen to your heart. Listen to your soul.

    As Jews, we believe that our collective fates are inextricably linked. Now is the time to fulfill the prophetic obligation to "pray with our feet." Now is the time to join together and bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.

    Only when every black life matters in America, will every life in America matter.

    We cannot rest until we have succeeded.


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    Death Penalty

    Robert Wayne Holsey


    Robert Wayne Holsey’s attorney, Andy Prince, was a chronic alcoholic whose life was spinning out of control when he represented Mr. Holsey, an intellectually disabled African American man, at his 1997 capital trial in Georgia. Mr. Prince’s representation was astonishingly poor: he decided not to present evidence showing Mr. Holsey’s intellectual disabilities and mitigation evidence that could have persuaded the jury to spare his life. Mr. Prince was disbarred and sent to prison for theft of client funds shortly after Mr. Holsey was convicted and sentenced to death. Mr. Holsey has a clemency hearing on Monday, December 8, 2014 and is scheduled for execution on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.

    When Mr. Prince represented Mr. Holsey in the trial for his life, Mr. Prince’s own life was in shambles. Mr. Prince was a chronic alcoholic whose addiction began at 14 years old. He checked himself into rehabilitation facilities several times, only to check himself out against the advice of doctors. During the trial, he drank a quart of vodka – the equivalent of 21 shots - every night.

    Recent state AP coverage is here: http://www.macon.com/2014/12/02/3457169_lawyers-for-georgia-death-row.html?rh=1

    Mr. Prince stole more than $100,000 in client funds in an estate matter and the criminal investigation of the theft case against Mr. Price was underway while he was representing Mr. Holsey. Mr. Price had several judgments against him and saw no way out of mounting debt. Mr. Prince also received $3,500 from the court to hire a mitigation specialist for the penalty phase of Mr. Holsey’s trial, but he never did so. The money is still unaccounted for.

    During the months when Mr. Prince should have been preparing a penalty phase defense for his client, he was arrested for disorderly conduct after repeatedly threatening to shoot three black neighbors while brandishing a gun and yelling racial slurs at them. Mr. Prince was white. His client, Mr. Holsey, was black.

    Shortly after Mr. Holsey was convicted and sentenced to death, Mr. Prince was disbarred and sentenced to 10 years for the theft of client funds, with three years in prison and seven years on probation. Later, when Mr. Prince was sober and out of prison, he testified: “I shouldn’t have been representing anybody in any case.”

    Mr. Prince, by his own admission, was unable to make a case for sparing Mr. Holsey’s life. At the onset of the case, Mr. Prince told the court that intellectual disability would not be an issue. This decision alone was a stunning failure of representation. The U.S. Supreme Court has held the Eighth Amendment prohibits capital punishment for people with intellectual disability (formerly known as mental retardation) and that cognitive impairments generally can have a mitigating impact at sentencing. If Mr. Prince had persuasively shown that Mr. Holsey was intellectually disabled, he would likely not be facing execution today.

    Records in Mr. Prince’s possession showed that Mr. Holsey was, in fact, intellectually disabled. He was socially promoted through school and never rose higher than a third or fourth grade level of intellectual functioning. At 15, while in juvenile detention, Mr. Holsey received a 70 on an IQ test, which placed him in the mildly retarded range. His prison records further documented his low intellectual functioning.

    The night before the penalty phase of Mr. Holsey’s trial, Mr. Prince turned the case over to a less experienced attorney who had never tried a death penalty case. Mr. Prince had not previously told his co-counsel that he expected her to persuade the jury to vote for a life sentence. She was unprepared to present mitigation evidence.

    If the jury had heard the mitigation evidence, one or more jurors would have voted to spare his life. One of Mr. Holsey’s jurors provided an affidavit that said: “Had Mr. Holsey’s lawyers provided us jurors with even a small part of the wealth of information concerning … his background which I now know was available, it would have made a difference.”

    Mr. Holsey’s early life was consumed by poverty and abuse. Mr. Holsey’s mother targeted the young Mr. Holsey and one of his sisters for beatings and favored the other children. She beat him with and without reasons, including when he wet the bed, which he did until he was a teenager. Mr. Holsey’s mother called Mr. Holsey “Dumbo,” “retard,” and other humiliating names as she beat him. The children in the housing project where the family lived called the Holsey unit “the torture chamber.” Mr. Prince did not present this and other critical information to the jury.

    In Strickland v. Washington (1984), the U.S. Supreme Court stated: “That a person who happens to be a lawyer is present at trial alongside the accused ... is not enough to satisfy the constitutional command. The Sixth Amendment recognizes the right to the assistance of counsel because it envisions counsel's playing a role that is critical to the ability of the adversarial system to produce just results.” A Georgia habeas corpus judge found that Mr. Prince’s representation was abysmal and ineffective and robbed Mr. Holsey of his right to a fair trial. A new sentencing trial was ordered, but the Georgia Supreme Court reversed and reinstated Mr. Holsey’s death sentence.

    The Georgia Supreme Court, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, or failing that the U.S. Supreme Court should prevent the injustice of executing a man whose lawyer failed to tell the court that he was intellectually disabled and did little more than be physically present at the penalty phase of his capital trial.


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    We Must Pursue Justice for Michael Brown and People of Color

    STATEMENT BY RUTH MESSINGER, PRESIDENT OF AMERICAN JEWISH WORLD SERVICE


    November 25, 2014, NEW YORK, NY — “As we work as Jewish global citizens every day to combat human rights abuses around the world, we cannot be blind to the moral and structural failings of our own society. One such glaring failing is the murder of Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri and the apparent inability of our criminal justice system to achieve justice for him and other people of color whose lives are lost all too frequently to senseless and excessive police force. This failing of our system is not a personal foible or one-time event but is rooted in the history of racism which—despite all the progress we have made as a society—still diminishes our justice system.

    “As Jewish advocates for human rights, we must stand for justice at home and around the world. We understand from our historical experience what it means to have our lives treated by government authorities as being less valuable than those of others. We also are commanded by our core ethical teaching to “love the stranger” as we were once “strangers in Egypt,” meaning we need to view justice from the standpoint of the person with the least power. Finally, we know that we are not the first or the last to struggle for justice. We stand on the shoulders of generations of advocates for civil and human rights, many of them Jews.

    “We urge our supporters to make their voices heard and to join with Bend the Arc and other progressive Jewish organizations active in the United States to pursue justice for Michael Brown and people of color.”

    Here is a link to the statement online:
    http://ajws.org/who_we_are/news/archives/press_releases/we_must_pursue_justice_michael_brown.html

    American Jewish World Service
    Inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, American Jewish World service (AJWS) works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. www.ajws.org


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    Civil Rights Coalition Delivers Demands for Concrete Reforms to Address Nationwide Policing Crisis

    ColorofChange.org and others to E- Deliver 120,000 signatures to White House, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security

    www.NationalPolicingReforms.org
    http://unitedforferguson.com


    Washington D.C. -- Today, a coalition of 11 progressive and civil rights organization including ColorofChange.org, Democracy for America, MomsRising, Daily Kos and many more are set to deliver 120,000 signatures to the White House, Department of Justice, Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security demanding concrete reforms to address the nationwide policing crisis in our country. These demands were developed in coordination with local organizations working to end discriminatory and abusive policing, academics, as well as policing and legal experts. The delivery also stands in solidarity with various actions happening across the country today on the National Day Against Police Brutality.

    Reforms include an executive order from President Obama with a strong and enforceable ban on police brutality and discrimination, DOJ investigations of biased and violent policing in every state of the country, a comprehensive database on police killings and use of force, with privacy protections and deportation immunity, and the defunding of federal programs that incentive militarized and abusive policing.

    “The coalition recognizes the important steps the Department of Justice and White house have taken since Mike Brown was killed, but now calling for bold vision and deliberate action to shift the policies, police culture, and lack of accountability and oversight that led to his death,” said ColorOfChange Executive Director, Rashad Robinson. “Discriminatory, violent, and militarized policing is a nationwide civil and human rights crisis. In the face of this crisis, we have called on our national leaders to do more and we now come with clear and tangible reforms to move forward.

    “Police brutality violates trust between law enforcement and the public, making it harder for police to do their jobs or create the kind of partnerships effective at keeping communities safe while respecting the safety and dignity of all people,” continued Robinson. “With increased focus on the very real violence and abusive policing targeting Black and brown youth every day, we demand more than conversation or commissions, but real leadership to enact structural change to our criminal justice system.”

    The coalition continues to demand full accountability and justice for the police killing of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, and so many others across the country. They are calling on President Obama and the federal agencies to take definite action to address the national epidemic of discriminatory and violent policing.

    Quotes from petition delivery partners:

    "These reforms will help address a long history of discriminatory policing in America -- and build better relationships between police and community members in neighborhoods across America. Those positive relationships are essential to protecting public safety and reducing crime. It’s time we delivered lasting justice for everyone in America.” - Robert Cruickshank, Senior Campaign Manager, Democracy for America.

    “The disturbing trend of excessive, and often fatal, policing around the country illustrates the system is broken,” said Rachel Colyer, Senior Campaign Director at Daily Kos. “The Executive branch can, and should, move quickly to reform the system before more lives are lost. The following proposed reforms would be much needed step on a long journey to address systemic discrimination, begin the demilitarization of police forces nationwide, and start rebuilding the trust that has been lost.”

    “Racial profiling and police brutality are epidemic in our country and it is long past time that we do something on the federal level to end this madness,” said MomsRising Executive Director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “No mother should ever have to fear that her children could be harmed, much less killed, by the law enforcement officers who have sworn to protect them. But it happens every day. As an organization representing more than a million mothers, fathers, grandparents and others across the country, we’re proud to stand with Color of Change as we call on the federal government, including the Department of Justice and Congress to take comprehensive steps to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”

    “After the tragic killing of Mike Brown and due in no small part to the hard work of organizers across the country, we are seeing more attention paid to our country’s long and often deadly history of excessive policing targeting people of color. Change is long overdue. The executive branch of our federal government can begin by taking concrete steps to demilitarize our police forces and to end discriminatory and abusive policing,” says Sarah Arnold, Activism Campaign Manager at The Nation.

    "For someone like me -- a middle-aged white man who has never worried for a moment that my 23 year old son might get shot by a police officer -- the hard reality of racialized policing in America is abstract. For the parents of young black men, it is anything but. We need to take steps to reform the disparate police treatment of young black men. These steps are not mysterious. They do not require Congressional approval. They can and should be done now." Dan Cantor, National Director, Working Families.

    Additional coalition partners include the Advancement Project, Center for Popular Democracy, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, RH Reality Check, and RootsAction.

    With more than 900,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.


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    National Civil Rights Organization Condemns Shameful Private Prison Company's Attempt to Overturn Florida's Decision to Cancel its Contract Due to Widespread Abuse of Children

    ColorOfChange reiterates support for Florida Department of Juvenile Justic (DJJ) cancellation of the YSI Managed Santa Rosa Abuse Treatment Center, Calls for Wider Private Prison Cancellation


    New York, NY—Yesterday, the for-profit prison corporation Youth Services International (YSI) filed an official challenge with the Florida Division of Administration after the DJJ canceled a $3,527,552 contract for the Santa Rosa Abuse Treatment Center -- citing excessive force, abuse, and an institutionalized disregard for the well being of youth in its custody. YSI was also barred from applying for a contract with the state for 12 months.

    " The ColorOfChange community applauds Secretary Daly’s decision to cancel the Santa Rosa contract and protect Florida's youth from YSI’s devastating abuse. "
    ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson stated, “It is absolutely shameful that a company that profits from the daily abuse and torture of Florida’s youth would blame the State and those same youth for sanctions against its unethical business practices. This is a clear attempt to roll back Florida’s progress to hold the private prison industry accountable for its corruption and abuse and stop the State from moving toward more forward facing and effective reforms.“

    “The ColorOfChange community applauds Secretary Daly’s decision to cancel the Santa Rosa contract and protect Florida's youth from YSI’s devastating abuse. We urge Secretary Daly to fight YSI’s disgraceful influence-peddling and continue with further private prison contract cancellations of the facilities with known abuse of youth. The unethical private prison model, which prioritizes profit over rehabilitation, is unacceptable for Florida.”

    Robinson continued, “Extensive investigations have revealed some of the highest rates of sexual abuse in YSI facilities and widespread corruption. Private prison companies also unjustly charge youth to cover up abuse by guards and staff. In addition to immediate action to cancel YSI contracts, I urge Secretary Daly to investigate the arrest of the eight youth mentioned in YSI’s recent challenge.”

    Since June, 15,000 people have joined ColorOfChange’s campaign calling for an end to Florida’s for-profit youth system and a massive reinvestment in effective, community-based alternatives to imprisonment.

    With more than 900,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.


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    Civil Rights Organization Demands New York Times Correct Deeply Flawed Editing Process after Publishing Racist Oped by Alessandra Stanley

    Over 45,000 ColorOfChange.org Members Demand an Apology from Stanley

    **VIEW PETITION: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/shondarhimes/****


    New York, NY -- After widespread public outcry -- including a ColorOfChange.org campaign that garnered the signatures of over 45,000 of its members -- Alessandra Stanley and some editors at the New York Times have finally expressed remorse for the publication of an outrageous op-ed calling TV writer and producer, Shonda Rhimes, and her many complex Black women heroines “angry Black women” and judging their adherence to white standards of beauty.

    However, the New York Times must take substantive steps to correct the deeply flawed editing process that allowed this highly offensive piece to hit newsstands.

    Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org, said, “According to the New York Times Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, the Times has zero Black critics on staff. Perhaps that explains in part why Alessandra Stanley’s tone deaf op-ed was reviewed by multiple editors before somehow receiving approval. Did none of them find anything at all wrong with Stanley’s hurtful words.

    “Clearly the New York Times has a problem. Culture Editor Danielle Mattoon said it herself that the paper’s editors need to ‘remind ourselves as editors of our blind spots, what we don’t know, and of how readers may react.’ Those sentiments are a step in the right direction, but we need to see action. The Times needs to make clear the measures it will take to address their diversity problem, and ensure offensive rants like Stanley’s don’t slip through the cracks by way of the ‘blind spots’ of their editors.

    “Our members at ColorOfChange.org and the thousands of others deserve a plan for a path forward to prevent dehumanizing articles like this one from receiving the influential platform the New York Times provides. Printing Stanley's article was a mistake; a news outlet that bills itself as the ‘paper of record’ should be able to not only admit their mistakes, but also learn from them and take the necessary steps towards ensuring this never happens again.”

    With more than 900,000 members,ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.


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    (BPRW) PBS to Present AMERICA AFTER FERGUSON Friday, September 26, 2014, 8-9 p.m. ET

    Moderated by PBS NEWSHOUR’s Gwen Ifill, town hall meeting will explore the complex issues surrounding the events in Ferguson, Missouri


    (BLACK PR WIRE) -- ARLINGTON, Va. -- PBS today announced that Gwen Ifill, PBS NEWSHOUR co-anchor and managing editor, and moderator and managing editor of WASHINGTON WEEK, will moderate AMERICA AFTER FERGUSON, a town hall meeting that will explore the many issues that have been brought into public discourse in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri. The program, produced by WGBH Boston in partnership with the Nine Network/KETC in St. Louis and WETA in Washington DC, will air Friday, September 26, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings).

    While the facts of the case are still in dispute, for many the story of Ferguson has become a symbol of the larger social divides in America, exposing a persistent disconnect along lines of race, class and identity. Through conversations and special reports, AMERICA AFTER FERGUSON will explore these complex questions raised by the events in Ferguson.

    AMERICA AFTER FERGUSON will be taped before an audience on Sunday, September 21, at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Intended for audiences in communities across the country, AMERICA AFTER FERGUSON will include national leaders in the areas of law enforcement, race and civil rights, as well as government officials, faith leaders and youth.

    “The upheaval in Ferguson stirred up an all too familiar stew of debate over race, justice and citizenship," Ifill said. "It’s a discussion fueled by community outrage and resentment on all sides, but it is one that shouldn’t end. Our town hall conversation will shed light rather than heat on the topic, as we seek out the voices interested in digging deeper.”

    “In light of the ongoing events in Ferguson, we wanted to help convene a conversation to delve deeper into these complex cultural questions,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “By bringing together PBS’ trusted brand of news and public affairs analysis with the local expertise of our St. Louis PBS member station KETC, we will deliver a compelling and informative program that helps move these important conversations forward.”

    “This can be a town hall where a civil dialogue happens not only in the auditorium and over the air, but also through social media,” said Marie Nelson, WGBH executive producer for the program. “It’s a chance for a wide range of voices and ideas to be heard in a truly national discourse.”

    As a multi-platform initiative, AMERICA AFTER FERGUSON will also deliver content and conversation through a robust digital presence and social media discussion. To continue the dialogue after the town hall, visit pbs.org/afterferguson and follow #AfterFerguson.

    About PBS
    PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 120 million people through television and nearly 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

    About WGBH
    WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the web. Television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. Find more information at wgbh.org.

    – PBS–


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    On 49th Anniversary of Voting Rights Act Signing,
    Civil Rights Organization Demands Walmart Release Surveillance Tapes of Man Killed Inside Store

    More than 60,000 ColorOfChange.or Members Signed Petition

    **VIEW PETITION: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/ReleaseTheTapes/**


    Dayton, OH -- On August 5, 2014, 22-year-old John Crawford III was fatally shot by police in a Walmart in Beaver Creek, Ohio while leaning on a pellet gun from the store's shelves. Since his murder, Walmart has refused requests from family attorneys to publicly release security tape footage from the more than 200 cameras in the store. In response, ColorOfChange.org, the nation’s largest online civil rights organization, launched a petition demanding Walmart publicly release the surveillance videos to ensure justice for John Crawford, and help customers and workers feel safe in Walmart stores.

    Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org, said, “Walmart thinks by hiding these tapes they can avoid a conversation about their responsibility for the safety of customers and workers in their stores: they're wrong. Walmart owes John Crawford's family, Walmart workers and future shoppers answers for why police stormed one of their stores and murdered one of their customers.”

    Robinson continued, “The 911 caller is now changing his story, saying that Crawford never aimed the gun at anyone in the store. Releasing the tapes publicly will help John Crawford's family, the community, and Walmart workers restore their faith in a legal process that too often refuses to deliver justice when Black people are hurt or killed. Ironically and tragically, Ohio is an open carry state; even if the pellet gun John Crawford picked up was a real gun, he would have committed no crime. Crawford’s death exemplifies how open carry laws provide no protection for Black people in a culture that doesn’t value our dignity or humanity.”

    “ColorOfChange supports the determined work of advocates on the ground, like the Ohio Student Association, who continue to demand justice for John Crawford. We demand full accountability of the police officers responsible. “

    With more than 900,000 members,ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.


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    On 49th Anniversary of Voting Rights Act Signing,
    Bend the Arc Organizes Jewish Voters in Fight to Protect Voting Rights

    As Congress Leaves Town, Voters Sign Petition Urging Lawmakers to Advance Voting Rights Amendment Act


    Washington, DC—To honor the 49th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act, activists launched a nationwide petition on Wednesday calling on members of the record-breakingly unproductive 113th Congress to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) when they return to work in September. Drafted in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, the VRAA will modernize and strengthen the landmark Civil-Rights era bill with common-sense fixes to protect voters nationwide against discrimination at the ballot box.

    As part of the national coalition pushing for the VRAA, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice today will begin gathering signatures from Jewish voters on a petition calling on lawmakers to reestablish basic voting rights before the November elections by passing the VRAA. From the joint coalition petition:

    “States and localities around the country are making changes that will discriminate against voters based solely on the color of their skin or the language they speak. And voters will feel the impact of these changes this November. Congress must protect all voters.”

    Congress’ refusal to advance the VRAA marks a severe and unprecedented divergence from the past four decades, when voting rights enjoyed strong support across the political spectrum. Since its original passage in 1965, Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act with overwhelming bipartisan support four times, most recently in 2006. These reauthorization bills were signed into law by Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush—all Republicans.

    “I’m not sure whether to be astonished or appalled by the brazenness of lawmakers who are blocking the VRAA from moving forward, especially since so many of them voted to protect voting rights in 2006,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc. “We have no illusions about this Congress, but we don’t think it’s too much to ask that our lawmakers take action to protect the very right that serves as the foundation for our system of government.”

    America’s Jewish community has deep roots in the Civil Rights Movement. Young Jew Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma and Rabbi Joachim Prinz had the honor of speaking before him to the crowd at the March on Washington. Building on this legacy, Bend the Arc held a National Day of Action in June, culminating in a candlelight vigil on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, to commemorate the deaths of Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, three young activists who were murdered 50 years ago for working to register black voters in Mississippi. In partnership with the Andrew Goodman Foundation, Bend the Arc is galvanizing Jewish participation in the national, multi-racial, interfaith and intergenerational coalition to protect voting rights and promote civic engagement.

    Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice is a national organization inspired by Jewish values and the steadfast belief that Jewish Americans, regardless of religious or institutional affiliations, are compelled to create justice and opportunity for Americans.


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    Civil Rights Groups Demand Twitter Release Diversity Data

    ColorOfChange.org Joins with Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rainbow Push Coalition Calling on Twitter to Publicly Disclose Employee Demographic Data and Commit to Real Inclusion


    **VIEW PETITION HERE: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/twitter_diversity_data**

    New York, NY - Today, ColorOfChange.org, the nation’s largest online civil rights group, joined with Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Push Coalition, to demand that Twitter publicly disclose its demographic data and hold a forum to discuss Silicon Valley’s diversity problem.

    In response, Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org said, "Although not on the payroll, Twitter has been built off the creativity of Black people and owes our community a transparent conversation about the state of diversity at the corporation. Disclosure of employee data is an important first step, but we hope -- given the growing power of Black Twitter -- that the company will take seriously the call to recruit and retain more Black employees at every level of the corporate structure.”

    In recent weeks as other Silicon Valley tech companies like Facebook, Yahoo, Google, and LinkedIn took the historic first step to release data about the racial and gender composition of their staffs, Twitter has remained silent -- refusing to jump on the data-release-bandwagon.

    To date, most of the data disclosures have confirmed that Silicon Valley prefers its workers to be male and either white or Asian. And although Twitter is unlikely to break any diversity trends that have emerged, transparency and a public commitment to improving the recruitment and retention of Black employees are critical first steps.

    With over 900,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.


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    Last 100 Executed & Ogletree Op Ed

    I write to draw your attention to a new study on 100 people executed during 2012 and 2013. The research shows that the death penalty system has failed to identify and execute “the worst of the worst.” In fact, the overwhelming majority of executed offenders (nearly nine out of ten) had deficits of at least one kind, such as intellectual disability, severe mental illness, being under 21 at the time of the offense, or chronic childhood trauma -- characteristics that made them the same as, or very similar to, offenders the U.S. Supreme Court has exempted from the death penalty.

    The data is summarized in today’s Washington Post opinion editorial by Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree at wapo.st/1nUPYNn

    The research was published in The Hastings Law Journal at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2446950

    In Atkins v. Virginia (2002), the U.S. Supreme Court exempted intellectually disabled offenders from the death penalty because of their diminished capacity. Yet, one-third of the last 100 executed offenders had intellectual disabilities, borderline intellectual function or traumatic brain injury, a similarly debilitating intellectual impairment.

    Similarly, in Roper v. Simmons (2005), the Court held the death penalty unconstitutional for offenders aged 17 and under based, in large part, on science showing that the brains of juveniles are still developing. Among the last 100 people executed, however, more than one-third committed a capital crime before turning 25 – the age at which the brain fully matures. Twenty offenders had not yet reached the age of 21.

    More than half (54 percent) of the last 100 people executed had severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis, but the courts did not find them incompetent for execution under Ford v. Wainwright (1986).

    The study of 100 people executed between 2012 and 2013 further shows that at least half of the offenders experienced severe childhood trauma including physical abuse, sexual molestations, domestic violence, and chronic poverty and homelessness. The 50 percent figure, like the other statistics in the study, is probably lower than the reality. The records in death penalty cases are usually scant and under-resourced capital litigators often do not have the opportunity to investigate and present all available mitigation evidence.

    Please let me know if you wish to speak with the researchers who analyzed the data, Robert Smith, Assistant Professor of Law at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law or Sophie Cull, Co-Director of the National Consensus Project.


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    TOP JEWISH EDUCATORS URGE GRADUATES TO STAND UP FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

    Bravery of Activist Rabbis of the ‘60s Cited on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement and Civil Rights Act


    NEW YORK, NY – As the nation memorializes the 50th anniversary of civil rights activism during “Freedom Summer” of 1964 and the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the deans of five rabbinical schools are urging the graduating class of newly ordained Jewish spiritual leaders to stand up for social justice around the world. Through an “open letter” with Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), leaders representing the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism called upon hundreds of students graduating from rabbinical, cantorial and other graduate schools this month to commit themselves to social justice and taking action to stop injustices that occur around the world.

    Rabba Sara Hurwitz of Yeshivat Maharat (Orthodox), Rabbi Asher Lopatin of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (Orthodox), Rabbi Daniel Nevins of Jewish Theological Seminary Rabbinical School (Conservative), Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D. of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Reform), and Rabbi Deborah Waxman of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (Reconstructionist) joined Messinger in the letter. They recalled an incident from 50 years ago when 17 rabbis were arrested and held in a jail cell in St. Augustine, Florida after engaging in a non-violent protest by swimming alongside African-American protestors in a segregated hotel swimming pool. In their letter, the leaders urged the 2014 graduates to act just as those rabbis did 50 years ago to stand up for the rights of all people around the world.

    “Our call to you today is to muster the time and courage—like your predecessors in the civil rights movement—to stand up for what you believe and take action to stop the injustices that plague our world. You have the potential to be powerful change makers and to inspire others to join you in building ever-greater momentum for social justice,” the leaders wrote.

    The full letter can be read here.


    Inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, American Jewish World service (AJWS) works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. www.ajws.org


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    Civil Rights Group Urges President Obama and Congress to Take a Stand Against Discriminatory Profiling

    ColorOfChange.org, Members of Congressional Black Caucus and other civil rights groups Ask President for Federal Law Enforcement Guidance to Curb Racial Profiling


    New York, NY - ColorOfChange.org, the nation's largest online civil rights organization, urges President Obama to take immediate action to close discriminatory profiling loopholes for Federal law enforcement, and urges Congress to pass the Eliminate Racial Profiling Act (ERPA).

    “While the President has the authority to reduce profiling abuses by Federal law enforcement, Congress can go many steps further by passing the The Eliminate Racial Profiling Act (S. 1038 / H.R. 2851), said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org. “This legislation provides an opportunity to fix a major broken piece of our criminal justice system and address a law enforcement culture that has forced millions of Black folks to live in fear and cast entire communities as suspect.”

    Targeted profiling by law enforcement across the country, including by federal law enforcement is part of a deeply racist, brutal culture that is in desperate need of reform. These discriminatory practices cause tremendous harm to Black families and communities and can lead to unlawful arrests, deportations, incarceration and in some cases serious injury or death. Blacks folks are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with police.

    “By taking a stand against discriminatory profiling, President Obama and Congress can send a strong message that they intend to protect the civil rights and liberties of our nation’s increasingly diverse communities, help rebuild the trust in law enforcement and go a long way toward ensuring equal treatment under the law for all individuals regardless of race or ethnicity," said Robinson.

    Today leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus and Asian Pacific American Caucus joined other members of Congress and civil rights advocates to call on the Obama administration to issue improved profiling guidance for federal law enforcement that closes current loopholes.

    With over 900,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.


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    New Orleans Education Justice Organizations Call for State Superintendent of Education John White to Resign


    NEW ORLEANS – With the closure of the last traditional public school in New Orleans’ Recovery School District last week, local parents, educators and community advocates are stepping up pressure on State Superintendent of Education John White to resign. On Wednesday, two community-based organizations, which recently filed a federal civil rights complaint alleging racial discrimination in New Orleans school closures, delivered a letter to White demanding an immediate resignation in light of his dismissal of the complaint in news reports as “a joke.”

    According to Coalition for Community Schools (CCS) and Conscious Concerned Citizens Controlling Community Changes (C-6) – which filed the complaint in mid-May with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice – the superintendent’s dismissive comments are only the latest in a long pattern of turning a blind eye to discrimination in New Orleans’ school system and disregarding the experiences of Louisiana families. Instead of listening to the communities he is supposed to serve, their letter details, White has instead shown allegiance to the pro-charter, pro-privatization agenda.

    “The discriminatory effects of school closures that students of color and their families experience in New Orleans are no laughing matter,” says the letter, which was also sent to the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, as well as to Charles Roemer, president of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. “We find no humor in our school communities being dissolved, no amusement in being forced to send our children to charter schools that are unaccountable to our families, and no comedy in schoolchildren waiting outside before sunrise for school buses to take them across the city because we have no neighborhood schools left. It is with utmost seriousness that we have called for a civil rights investigation of the harmful school closure policies that have shuffled countless black and brown children from failing schools to other failing or near-failing schools, year after year.”

    The letter cites several challenges that the Recovery School District has suffered under White’s department, including:

    More than 30 traditional public schools have closed in the last several years. Of the students impacted by last week’s round of school closures, approximately 1,000 are black. Only five are white. The majority of Recovery School District schools are ranked “C,” “D,” or “F.”

    Despite repeated opposition to mass school closures in New Orleans, including extensive advocacy, protests and a separate civil rights complaint filed last year by a local mother, White’s department has failed to investigate these concerns.

    “John White’s decision to call our civil rights complaint against his department ‘a joke’ is reprehensible and further proves his disregard for the lived experiences of Louisiana students and families,” said C-6 founder Frank J. Buckley. “As superintendent, he should take seriously any charge of discrimination.”

    “We have had enough of misguided policies that treat children of color as collateral damage,” said Karran Harper Royal of CCS. “We are tired of our complaints being disregarded and derided. This is why we are calling for John White’s immediate resignation and a moratorium on school closures.”

    See the open letter calling for Superintendent John White’s resignation here: http://bit.ly/1rMRGnF

    See the Title VI civil rights complaint here: http://b.3cdn.net/advancement/24a04d1624216c28b1_4pm6y9lvo.pdf


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BLACK - AFRICAN AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS
   

  1. A. Philip Randolph...
    Celebrate the legacy of A. Philip Randolph and contributions made by African-Americans to America's labor history.

  2. African American History: Welcome...
    This project documents a selection of important events in African American history.

  3. Black History in America ...
    Complete African American history including black artists, athletes, war heroes, civil rights leaders, politicians, and scientists. Personal biographies and photos of African American leaders.

  4. Civil Rights Documentation Project...
    Intended to serve the needs of teachers and students, The Civil Rights Documentation Project demonstrates that Congress is capable of converting big ideas into powerful law, that citizen engagement is essential to that process, and that the public policies produced 40 years ago continue to influence our lives.

  5. Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive...
    The Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive is an Internet-accessible, fully searchable database of digitized versions of rare and unique library and archival resources on race relations in Mississippi.

  6. Civil Rights Museum...
    The Museum exists to assist the public in understanding the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement and its impact and influence on the human rights movement worldwide.

  7. CivilRightsLawFirms.com...
    Find local civil rights lawyer specializing in civil rights like police brutality, affirmative action, civil rights enforcement, disability, education, indigenous peoples, and religious freedom.

  8. Civil Rights Movement: March on Washington 1963...
    A short history leading to and folling the March 18, 1963 March on Washington D.C. for Jobs and Freedom.

  9. Documenting the Civil Rights Struggle in Arkansas ...
    This collection of images, broadsides, pamphlets, and publications documents the changing nature of civil rights in Arkansas from the territorial period through today.

  10. Duluth Lynchings Online Resource...
    An online resource guide to the tragic events surrounding the Duluth Lynchings of June 15, 1920.

  11. Electronic Archives: Sovereignty Commission Online...
    Electronic Archives of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

  12. Facing History and Ourselves...
    Educational organization. Site includes videoclips of individuals who involved the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 60s.

  13. Freedom Now!...
    Freedom Now! An archival project of Tougaloo College and Brown University.

  14. Freetown Villiage - A Living History Museum...
    Freetown Village is a living history museum which depicts the lives and lifestyles of free African Americans in the year 1870.

  15. Greensboro, North Carolina Sit-Ins...
    The Greensboro News & Record and Public Library chronicle the 1960 sit-in movement with a timeline, photos, and voices of the participants.

  16. Harry T. Moore Homesite - Mims, Florida...
    Harry T. Moore Homesite site commemorates lives of two pioneering American Black civil rights workers, murdered in 1951.

  17. Historical Publications of the US Commission on Civil Rights...
    Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland School of Law.

  18. Historic Places in the Civil Rights Movements...
    The National Parks Services' story of the Civil Rights Movement centered around places listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

  19. Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University...
    Racism and racial stereotypes in the Jim Crow Era. Racial discrimination against minorities, blacks and African Americans. Minstrel shows, Al Jolson and Amos and Andy.

  20. Jim Crow Online...
    The official home of the PBS documentary, The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.

  21. Juneteenth Worldwide Celebration ...
    Website brings together the spirit of Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery.

  22. KODAK: Powerful Days in Black and White...
    KODAK: Powerful Days in Black and White, photographs.

  23. Little Rock Central High 40th Anniversary...
    Background and history of events during the integration of Central High in 1957. Photos, articles, and news releases are published. Museum and visitor's center information is provided.

  24. Mississippi Civil Rights Documentation Project...
    Funded by the Mississippi state legislature, presentation includes oral history bibliography, oral history transcripts, and civil rights timeline.

  25. Modern History of Blacks in Mathematics...
    A contemporary history of Blacks in Mathematics,featuring the first African Americans in the Mathematical Sciences and related events in the past 300 years.

  26. National Center for Public Policy Research: Brown v. Board of Education...
    Brown v. Board of Education I (1954), made available by The National Center for Public Policy Research's Constitution and the Courts Archive.

  27. Oral Histories of the American South...
    Documenting the American South: Oral Histories of the American South.

  28. Photographic History of The Civil Rights Movement...
    Photos and text from The Civil Rights Movement.

  29. Race & Place...
    Race & Place: An African American Community.

  30. Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project...
    The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is based at the University of Washington. It represents a unique collaboration involving community groups, UW faculty, and both undergraduate and graduate students.

  31. Sojourn to the Past...
    Offers students, educators and parents the chance to travel for ten days through the South visiting the most dramatic sites and hearing the speakers that first witnessed and created the civil rights movement.

  32. Television News of the Civil Rights Era...
    T 1950-1970, aims to collect, digitize, and present in streaming video format over the World Wide Web television news footage from the period and to make these valuable materials available to scholars, teachers, and students.

  33. The Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson...
    Interviews with biographer Marshall Frady and with Jackson's friends and advisors, including audio clips from PBS Frontline.

  34. The 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing...
    Information and history of the Birmingham Church bombing of 1963.

  35. The Papers of Justice Tom C. Clark...
    Tarlton Law Library - The Papers of Justice Tom C. Clark.

  36. The Trials of The Scottsboro Boys...
    Trial transcript excerpts, original essays, images, maps, diagrams, court decisions, and other materials relating to the Scottboro Boys trials.

  37. Without Sanctuary...
    Website featuring photographs and descriptions from the book Without Sanctuary by Hilton Als and James Allen, with postcards of lynchings in America.













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