Race, Rape, and Injustice: Documenting and Challenging Death Penalty Cases in the Civil Rights Era

By Barnhill, John H. | The Western Journal of Black Studies, Fall 2014 | Go to article overview

Race, Rape, and Injustice: Documenting and Challenging Death Penalty Cases in the Civil Rights Era


Barnhill, John H., The Western Journal of Black Studies


Race, Rape, and Injustice: Documenting and Challenging Death Penalty Cases in the Civil Rights Era

Authors: Barret J. Foerster & Michael Meltsner

University of Tennessee Press, 2012

Price: $ 39.95

ISBN: 978-1-57233-862-3

In 1965, about two dozen white northern law students, mostly men, headed into the South to research racial bias in sentencing in rape cases. Their efforts to document the manner in which old rape cases were handled (perhaps more appropriately, mishandled) produced substantial documentation that Southern justice was discriminatory against blacks in rape cases, perhaps in all sorts of cases. This book describes not only the difficult to dangerous environment in which the students worked but, more important, the aftermath and the legal significance of the data they collected.

The author, Barret J. Foerster, was one of the law students and after a successful career that culminated in a federal judgeship in California; he decided that the episode and its consequences had been long enough neglected. So he contacted other student researchers as well as those who used the data in subsequent years to bring about change in the criminal courts, even to influence Supreme Court decisions. Interviews and documents provided the basis for not only a recapturing of the 1965 adventure but the fruits of that perilous effort.

The civil rights revolution of the sixties was in full sway in the South, times were turbulent, nay dangerous, and the students were cautious in their venture, seeking to maintain a low profile as they explored case files and the like, collecting the data that would form the basis of a database documenting the reality that black on white rape was much more likely than any other type to result in a death sentence.

The work moves quickly past the dangerous activities but not before reestablishing the mid 1960s South as a tinderbox of racial tensions and white hostility to blacks and northerners. Race, Rape, and Justice brings out the hostility or uncooperativeness of white officials, the belligerence of other whites when they learned the purpose of the northern white intruders. The mood of the South during the sixties shines through the section on the research effort. The deaths of Michael Schwemer, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman were still recent events when the law students ventured into enemy territory in search of data on differential sentencing in rape cases. Happily, the students escaped unscathed.

The data showed what the researchers expected, that blacks convicted of raping white women were disproportionately sentenced to death. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Race, Rape, and Injustice: Documenting and Challenging Death Penalty Cases in the Civil Rights Era
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.