Jena, Louisiana: Living up to its Historical Roots

July 26, 2007

Finally the NAACP does something worth talking about.  what too kyou so long NAACP??  They have passed an emergency resolution to assmeble lawyers who will fight for the Jena 6!  Lawyers from all backgrounds and races should be looking into this case.   

Donations can be mailed to:

Michael Bell Defense Fund, P.O. Box 1061 Jena, LA 71342

Update July 19, 2007

Here is a detailed breakdown about the case; it exaplins everything about this case.  

Respnding to the Crisis in Jena

Deomcray Now interview with family members of the Jena 6 

Free The Jena 6!

Two Races, Two Systems of Justice in Louisiana 

Update June 29th, 2007

White jury convicts black teen in case of racially tinged Louisiana school fight  

I would like to ask Justice Clarence Thomas where the “color-blind Constitution” is at that he spoke of in his dissent this week.

This is insane.  What is going on in the south?  You get suspended for fighting, not charged with attempted murder.  The black students in this incident were being racially harassed, and while I do not condomn violence,  these young boy’s punishment is not right.  I am sick and I am tired of this.  I am all for taking responsibility for ones actions, but these is goes way over the line!!!!

June 26, 2007 

I am not sure how many of you heard about this, but this is my first time.  The story has been nick named “The Jena Six”.  6 black high school students were charged with attempted murder for beating up a white student who suffered minor injuries.  So why did they do this?  Here is the story….

It began in Jena’s high school last August when Kenneth Purvis asked the headteacher if black students could break with a long-held tradition and join the whites who sit under the tree in the school courtyard during breaks. The boy was told that he and his friends could sit where they liked.

The following morning white students had hung three nooses there. ‘Bad taste, silly, but just a prank,’ was the response of most of Jena’s whites. 

Now you know there is a problem when the students had to ask permission to sit under a tree.  This is not 1907 this is 2007!!!

The 6 black students ended up beating up a white student.  The School district in Jena gave the white students who hung the nooses; in school suspension and the black students were arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder.  This article highlights the history of Jena as not being a black friendly town.

Just this week the prosecutor has reduced the charges for one of the black youth:

But as jury selection was about to begin in Bell’s case Monday, District Atty. Reed Walters reduced the charges to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery, which together carry a maximum of 22 years in prison.

Walters, who is prosecuting Bell as an adult, also offered the teenager a plea agreement including a suspended sentence, which Bell’s father said the youth rejected.

The other 5 students are still in jail and will face a judge in the upcoming months.  Once again we see how the south has not really changed.  And Jena’s School Superintendent Roy Breithaupt claimed that the hanging of nooses on a tree was juvenile prank; it was all in fun:

“Adolescents play pranks,” said Breithaupt, the superintendent of the LaSalle Parish school system. “I don’t think it was a threat against anybody.”

What’s funny about hanging nooses from a tree for black students whose ancestors were lynched because of the color of their skin?  What is funny or comical about portraying a technique that America’s home grown terrorist group (The Ku Klux Klan) used to kill black people??

It is this thoughtless thinking or mindset that some (not all) white people have which undermines black people in this country.  These people in Jena, don’t see this incident as a big deal.  In the article, a white barber admitted that he does not cut black peoples hair; he claims that our hair is too hard to cut???  What are we aliens?  This town has a history and a cultural of hatred and racism; and they are so cultural conditioned that they don’t see anything wrong with it.


In this country we have culturally conditioned to believe that white is superior and black is inferior; and the manifestation of this conditioning is that black people are underestimated, undervalued and marginalized.

You see it in this story; the attitudes and perceptions of some whites in the town of Jena reflect that. 


6 Responses

  1. If Mychal was prosecuted for attempted murder, then the ones who hung the nooses should be prosecuted for the felony of hate crime.


    If the noose incident is diminished as a harmless “prank” then the Jena six should be treated equally and found guilty only of “horseplay” or “roughhousing”.

    Play fair, Jena-ites! The D.A. and school officials can’t have it both ways–not without being exposed as the racist bigots that they are.


  2. Whoops–I should correct my post. The D.A. and school officials can’t have it just the one way, without being exposed as the racist bigots that they are. They must apply the law even-handedly, to both “sides.”

  3. An Open Letter to The Jena Six
    By Joseph Young
    Dear Mychal,
    I keep thinking about you. I also think about the other young men who have fallen prey to racial hatred. Its existence, more than a century after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, makes me fearful for your life, your safety. The freedom that it promised was tenuous.
    It was not entirely without strength. In the proclamation, issued three years into the Civil War, Lincoln declared, at the urging of Frederick Douglass, that the former slaves would be accepted into the Union Army and navy, making the liberated the liberator. By the war’s end, almost 200,000 black servicemen had fought for freedom and saved the Union.
    Your generation, like mine, is being denied this freedom our ancestors risked life and limb, so that we may live as free men and women. You can call them heroes, but they were not thinking of themselves when they displayed courage and self-sacrifice on the battlefields of America.
    Today, then, to guard against the impending doom of American civilization, is not only opposition to racism, but also the determination to secure the civil rights for which many Americans have paid a heavy toll. Of all the civil rights, the right to learn is the surest prevention from ignorance. If at any time, children are instructed with anti-black bias; and they are made to learn what is not true and what the dominate forces in their lives want them to think is true; there’re guilty of impeding the march toward American civilization.
    Astonishing as it is that those students would hang three nooses from the tree at Jena High School as a racial taunt, including calling the black students ‘niggers’; you would think that America would never again want to see a black person hang from a tree, or behind bars. The nooses show that we, Americans, have not come that far from the cruelties and barbarity of slavery as we think. (Between 1882 and 1968, an estimated 5,000 people, mostly blacks, met their deaths at the hands of lynch mobs.) And this also is an unfortunate comment upon the belief that our schools are the great path to progress, the great equalizer. If our schools are the great path to progress, they must be the freest of our institutions, opposed bitterly to the attempt to indoctrinate our children with racial hatred.
    Well, Mychal, as you and the others wait behind bars because of a racially biased and an over zealous prosecutor, it is for us on the outside to continue the unfinished work of our fathers, to set you free. All of you were willing to fight racial hatred, and you know people of goodwill are beside you. If the Confederacy couldn’t stop us, the opposition we now face will fail. When history is written your detractors will get little note, but you will be remembered for standing up for what’s best of the American creed. You are part of a legacy in which our slave forebears fought to birth a new nation. You, Mychal, are a child of America’s destiny.
    It was Martin Luther King who said if a man doesn’t have something worth dying for he is not fit to live. Freedom is worth dying for. Justice is worth dying for. Equality is worth dying for. A child is worth dying for, because our job as parents is to protect children.
    Mychal, when you feel complete frustration and your narrow jail cell is closing in on your spirit and mind; remember the message of the old slave preacher to his flock whose resistance to oppression might have been completely in vain:
    “You are created in God’s image. You are not slaves, you are not ‘niggers’; you are God’s children.”
    Godspeed Mychal,
    Your brother in the struggle, Joseph

  4. There is a bus leaving Wednesday for Jena LA. I’m on it. Its too important just to talk about it and say its a shame. If you are interested in supporting the bus trip from Prince Georges County ($1100 needed) or letters of support needed. Let us know.

  5. What about the media blackout of the brutal Knoxville double murders? Lets be fair.

  6. Jason whitlock is ignorant. Though he meant well when first started going off; he is out of control now and doesn’t know what he is talking about. I find it interestng that as he goes on and on about how black people especially black youth are destroying themselves; I have not heard him give any solutions; he sits on th sidelines and runs his mouth. Like James Brown said: “Talking lout but saying nothing”

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