Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ten Important Supreme Court Decisions

Ten Important Supreme Court Decisions in Black History
From Dred Scott to Affirmative Action
Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)
Decreed a slave was his master's property and African Americans were not citizens; struck down the Missouri Compromise as unconstitutional.
Civil Rights Cases (1883)
A number of cases are addressed under this Supreme court decision. Decided that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 (the last federal civil rights legislation until the Civil Rights Act of 1957) was unconstitutional. Allowed private sector segregation.
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
The Court stated that segregation was legal and constitutional as long as "facilities were equal"—the famous "separate but equal" segregation policy.

Powell v. Alabama (1932)
The Supreme Court overturned the "Scottsboro Boys'" convictions and guaranteed counsel in state and federal courts.

Shelley v. Kraemer (1948)
The justices ruled that a court may not constitutionally enforce a "restrictive covenant" which prevents people of certain race from owning or occupying property.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)
Reversed Plessy v. Ferguson "separate but equal" ruling. "[S]egregation [in public education] is a denial of the equal protection of the laws."

Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States (1964)
This case challenged the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court ruled that the motel had no right "to select its guests as it sees fit, free from governmental regulation."

Loving v. Virginia (1967)
This decision ruled that the prohibition on interracial marriage was unconstitutional. Sixteen states that still banned interracial marriage at the time were forced to revise their laws.

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)
The decision stated that affirmative action was unfair if it lead to reverse discrimination.

Grutter v. Bollinger (2003)
The decision upheld affirmative action's constitutionality in education, as long it employeed a "highly individualized, holistic review of each applicant's file" and did not consider race as a factor in a "mechanical way."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Civil Rights-Era Cold Case Initiative

As part of the Civil Rights-Era Cold Case Initiative, the FBI is currently re-assessing more than 100 unsolved or inadequately solved racially motivated homicides from the civil rights era. The FBI intends to notify the victims' families of the results of the investigation. Unfortunately, however, due to the passage of time and the migration of many families, the FBI has been unable to identify the next of kin in 33 cases.

The names and circumstances of these victims are listed below in hopes that the public may be able to provide information that can assist the FBI in locating surviving family members.

Atlanta Division:

A.C. Hall:

A.C. Hall was shot and killed on October 11, 1962, in Macon, Georgia, after being identified by a Caucasian woman as the man who stole a pistol from her car. The woman observed a person breaking into her car and the police responded. The officers drove her and her husband through the neighborhood to find the perpetrator. The couple identified Hall as the person who may be responsible and after a foot chase he was shot and killed by the officers.

Arthur James Hill:

Arthur James Hill was allegedly shot and killed on August 20, 1965, by an individual during an altercation with a group of Caucasian men in Villa Rica, Georgia. One of the men who shot Hill stated that Hill was pulling out a shotgun when Hill was shot.

Ernest Hunter:

Ernest Hunter was arrested in Savannah, Georgia, on September 13, 1958. Later that day, he was shot and killed by a police officer following an alleged struggle inside the holding cell at the police station. Hunter was arrested after he interfered with the officer's attempts to give Hunter's wife a traffic citation.

Maybelle Mahone:

On December 5, 1956, a Caucasian male shot and killed Maybelle Mahone in her home in Molena, Georgia.

Clarence Horatious Pickett:

Clarence Horatious Pickett was beaten by a police officer on December 21, 1957, in Columbus, Georgia, while Pickett was in jail. Pickett died as a result of his injuries on December 23, 1957.

Birmingham Division:

Nathan Johnson: On May 8, 1966, two police officers in Alabaster, Alabama, stopped Nathan Johnson for driving under the influence of alcohol. Johnson was transported to the station where he allegedly struggled with one of the officers and was shot and killed.

William Lewis Moore:

On April 23, 1963, William Moore was shot and killed by an individual near Attalla, Alabama. Moore, a postal worker from Baltimore, Maryland, and a former Marine had begun a solo march from Chattanooga, Tennessee, en route to Jackson, Mississippi, to deliver a letter to the governor urging the integration of the University of Mississippi.

Johnny Robinson:

Johnny Robinson was a 16-year-old African-American who was shot and killed by a police officer in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 15, 1963, during the aftermath of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.

Columbia Division:

James Waymers: On July 10, 1965, James Waymers was killed in Allendale, South Carolina, after an argument with an individual regarding Waymers' efforts to string electrical wires into the home of an African American.

Dallas Division:

John Earl Reese: On October 22, 1955, John Earl Reese, a 16-year-old African-American male was shot and killed by two men who fired several rounds into a predominantly African-American café in Gregg County, Texas. Two other African-American females were shot, but survived the attack.

Jacksonville Division:

Joseph Hill Dumas: On May 5, 1962, Joseph Dumas was killed in Perry, Florida, by a law enforcement officer who may have shot him accidentally during a traffic stop. Dumas and his family were detained during the stop in Taylor County, Florida.

Jackson Division:

Eli Brumfield:

Eli Brumfield was stopped for speeding in McComb, Mississippi, on October 13, 1961. When Brumfield allegedly jumped from his car with knife, he was shot and killed by the police officer.
Silas Ernest Caston: Silas Ernest Caston was shot and killed by a law enforcement officer in Hinds County, Mississippi, on March 1, 1964.

Jimmie Lee Griffin:

Jimmie Lee Griffin's body was discovered on a local highway near Sturgis, Mississippi, on September 24, 1965.

Ernest Jells:

Ernest Jells was shot to death on October 20, 1963, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, by a police officer after Jells allegedly pointed a rifle at officers who were attempting to arrest him for stealing a banana from a local grocery store.

William Henry Lee, aka, John Patrick Lee: Lee's body was discovered near railroad tracks in Rankin County, Mississippi, on February 25, 1965. Lee may have walked away from his disabled vehicle to seek assistance.

George Love:

George Love was shot and killed near Ruleville, Mississippi, on January 8, 1958, by police officers after Love allegedly shot and seriously wounded a Ruleville night marshal who sought to question Love about a robbery.

Neimiah Montgomery:

Neimiah Montgomery stopped at a gas station on August 10, 1964, in Cleveland, Mississippi, and asked the attendant to put gas in his car. Montgomery allegedly refused to pay for the gas and attacked the attendant. A police officer shot and killed Montgomery when he arrived on the scene.

Jessie James Shelby:

Jessie Shelby was shot and killed by a police officer in Yazoo City, Mississippi, on January 21, 1956.

Ollie Shelby:

Ollie Shelby was shot and killed on January 22, 1965, while he was incarcerated in the Hinds County Jail in Mississippi.

Ed Smith:

Ed Smith was allegedly shot and killed on April 27, 1958, in State Line, Mississippi.

Isaiah Taylor:

Isaiah Taylor was shot and killed on June 26, 1964 in Ruleville, Mississippi, by a police officer following a traffic stop.

Mobile Division:

Hiliard Brooks: On August 13, 1952, Hiliard Brooks was shot and killed by a police officer over a dispute regarding whether or not Brooks paid his bus fare.

Rogers Hamilton:

On October 22, 1957, one or two men came to Rogers Hamilton's home in Lowndes County, Alabama, and took him out of his house. Hamilton got into the truck with the men. His mother found Hamilton's body in the road. He had been shot and killed.

Bessie McDowell:

Two men went to Bessie McDowell's home in Andalusia, Alabama, in 1956 to collect a debt from an individual who resided with McDowell. When the individual fled, the men shot into the house and accidentally struck McDowell killing her.

James Earl Motley:

On November 20, 1966, James Motley was detained by a police officer in Elmore County, Alabama, during a traffic stop. After an alleged altercation with responding officers, he was transported to the police station. He was later found dead in the holding cell.