Drive Time for the ‘Jena 6’
By Eugene Robinson
September 21, 2007

How did thousands of African Americans come to descend on the town of Jena, La., yesterday for a march and rally that brought to mind the heady days of the civil rights movement? The answer says as much about what has changed over the past half-century as it says about what hasn’t.

Most people know the outlines of the story by now, but here’s a synopsis: Black students at the local high school sat under a tree that everyone knew was a place where white students usually congregated. White students reacted by hanging three nooses in the tree. Racial tensions escalated from there, including fights in which both black and white students got roughed up, but no one was seriously injured. Local officials, who are white, handled the white offenders with a “boys will be boys” attitude — a few brief school suspensions, basically. Black offenders were expelled from school, arrested and charged as adults with felony offenses, including
attempted murder.

These events happened in 2006. For months, they utterly failed to penetrate the national consciousness. We still might not know about what was happening in Jena if the case hadn’t been noticed by bloggers, who sounded the alarm. And I’m quite sure there would have been no busloads of protesters descending on Jena if the cause hadn’t been taken up by a radio personality best known for R-rated banter about sex and relationships.

Read more.

Post comment

Forbidden Bookshelf

Forbidden Bookshelf

“While We Were Sleeping”

While We Were Sleeping is an urgent call to save Greenwich Village from New York University's uncontrolled expansion.

Click here to donate to NYUFASP and receive a copy of "While We Were Sleeping: NYU and the Destruction of New York" (minimum donation to receive a book is $10 plus $8 shipping).

Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD

About News From Underground

News From Underground is a daily e-news service run by Mark Crispin Miller, a Professor of Culture and Communication at NYU. It is based on his belief that academics, like reporters, have a civic obligation to help keep the people well-informed, so that American democracy might finally work.

If you'd like to receive updates delivered to your inbox daily, sign up for News From Underground Alerts:

Help News From Underground!

Message from Mark: "I am a one-man operation, although assisted greatly by some volunteers, and, now and then, by people paid by others for one-time projects. There is no shortage of skilled, dedicated folks out there who want to help me. There is, however, nothing I can pay them with, unless you decide you can contribute something."

Please donate via the PayPal button above or via PayPal by email to:

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Popular Posts


Need a bigger font size?

Sponsored Links

  • Your link could be here too, contact us for pricing details.