Source: The Atlantic
The legacy of Jim Crow continues to loom large in the United States. But nowhere is it arguably more evident than in Louisiana.
In 1898, a constitutional convention in Louisiana successfully codified a slew of Jim Crow laws in a flagrant effort to disenfranchise black voters and otherwise infringe on their rights.
“Our mission was to establish the supremacy of the white race in this State to the extent to which it could be legally and constitutionally done,” wrote Louisiana’s Judiciary Committee Chairman Thomas Semmes.
One of the laws sought to maintain white supremacy in state courtrooms. In response to the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, which required the state to include black people on juries, Louisiana lawmakers and voters ratified a nonunanimous-jury law.
This law meant that a split jury—a verdict of 11–1 or 10–2—could convict a defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The law was designed to marginalize black jurors on majority-white juries, and many believe that it has contributed to the state’s status as one of the prison capital of the world.
Watch “Jim Crow’s Last Stand” above and read the story at The Atlantic.
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