Bryan Stevenson article “A Presumption of Guilt” in the New York Review of Books (July 13, 2017) draws a correlation between the lynching of black men and women and the disproportionate use of capital punishment against blacks. As lynchings of blacks became less common in the first half of the twentieth century, the use of capital punishment against blacks increased. Capital punishment abides as lynching by other means.
The civil rights legislation of the 1960s did not address racial injustice in our legal system. We are all familiar with the statistics that show how much more likely blacks are to be arrested, convicted, and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Things are destined to get worse under the present administration. If Jeff Sessions resigns as Attorney General, it will be because he wasn’t an effective enough nurse of the president’s weeping ego, and not because he was a member of the Kloset Klan.
To combat the racial inequalities in our justice system, Stevenson, a graduate of Harvard Law School, founded the Equal Justice Initiative. I know nothing about this organization except what I learned from Stevenson’s NYRB article, and from the organization’s web site. But it appears to be addressing the problem of unequal justice under the law for black people, and is most likely worthy of our support. I’m going to take a chance on it.