Category: RACISM

The Two Conflicting Histories of the King Assassination

BILL WILLERS—Mortally wounded, King was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where, surprisingly, “a large presence” of military intelligence officers had taken positions well before the shot was fired. More surprisingly, the hospital’s head surgeon, Breen Bland, accompanied by two men in suits, entered the hospital room in which King was being attended by medical staff. Bland is quoted as shouting, “Stop working on the nigger and let him die” and then ordering everyone out of the room. Personnel hearing the sound of men clearing their throats lingered behind and reported seeing Bland and his two accomplices spit on King, after which Bland smothered King to death with a pillow.

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The Legacy of Emmett Till

KENNETH ORPHAN—Today the legacy of America’s racist beginnings can be seen in its institutions that carry out a modern day version of lynching in the form of harassment, incarceration and police brutality. Children like Tamir Rice are among the victims of a system that justifies this continued violence in the name of public safety. It should come as no surprise, then, that Teresa Klein called the police after her spurious claim in a New York deli. She was confident of her social position and, after all, why shouldn’t she be?

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It Feels Like Being on Death Row

GEORGE YANCY—If I had the opportunity to speak with Stephon Clark before his death, I would have warned him of something that I would be at great pains to share. Theo Shaw, who in 2006 was a member of the “Jena Six,” in Jena, Louisiana, recently wrote to ask me a deeply moving and disturbing question: “Is to be Black and male in America like being on death row?”

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