The History of Lynching and the Present of PolicingRoundup
tags: lynching, Michael Brown, Stranger Fruit
The recent spate of racially charged police incidents, including the killing of unarmed black men from Sacramento to New York City, speaks to the urgency of a number of new projects seeking truth and reconciliation between the past and present. The newly opened National Memorial of Peace and Justiceand its accompanying Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, confront the long and dark history of lynching in the United States. Stranger Fruit, Jason Pollock’s documentary about the police shooting of Michael Brown four summers ago, was released nationally on April 3 and will premiere on Starz next month.
The film’s investigation of Brown’s killing invites us to grapple with a difficult legacy, and in so doing, challenges us to pursue a more just future.
Stranger Fruit opens with scenes of Ferguson, Missouri, protests set to Billie Holiday’s haunting 1939 song. It reconsiders how Brown’s lifeless body came to rest on smoldering blacktop for over four hours in the Missouri heat, pointing to glaring contradictions in the official story. And it raises the possibility that local law enforcement obstructed justice by lying to federal investigators after the grand jury non-indictment.
The official story in question goes like this: Darren Wilson suspected Brown of robbing a convenience store before stopping him and Dorian Johnson in the street. An angry and aggressive Brown initiated a struggle over the officer’s gun. To protect himself, Wilson discharged his weapon twice, wounding Brown in his hand. Brown took off running as Wilson gave chase. After a distance of 180 feet, Brown turned back toward Wilson, charged at him “like a demon,” and was then shot six or seven more times as Wilson emptied his clip.
The Department of Justice stated that federal agents canvassed 300 residences; interviewed dozens of witnesses, including local officials; and collected physical evidence, autopsy reports, cell-phone records, and e-mails. “In so doing, we assessed the witnesses’ demeanor, tone, bias, and ability to accurately perceive or recall the events of August 9, 2014.” ...
comments powered by Disqus
- Trump administration says joint UNC, Duke Middle East Studies program portrays Islam too positively
- What White Kids Learn About Race in School
- Frederick Douglass photos smashed stereotypes. Could Elizabeth Warren selfies do the same?
- Chronicling New York’s Muslim History
- New Documents Illuminate The University of Texas’s Secret Strategy to Keep Out Black Students
- Women Scientists Were Written Out of History. It’s Margaret Rossiter’s Lifelong Mission to Fix That
- Allen C. Guelzo Reviews Sidney Blumenthal's Latest Installment of His Biography of Lincoln
- What Reconstruction-Era Laws Can Teach Our Democracy: The NY Times Reviews Eric Foner's Latest Book
- Should historians read their own book?
- Cokie Roberts, Pioneering Journalist Who Helped Shape NPR, Dies At 75