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African American History Forum

The Courts Enforce The Law

In 1860, two Worcester barbers, Francis U. Clough and William H. Jenkins, were the first African Americans selected to serve on a Massachusetts jury or on any jury in the United States. The June 1860 edition of The Liberator —an important antislavery newspaper that also opposed racism—hailed this event “as an encouraging sign of the times."

Participating in our system of government is fundamental to helping to shape it. Some folks don't vote (for whatever reasons). Others try to escape any form of Jury Duty. (Can they be blamed for trying?)

If you were accused of a crime (anything, not just a violent crime, but anything), who would you want as jurors if your case went to trial? Who would you want as jurors if you were involved, not in a criminal case, but in a Civil case?

Read about the history of African Americans as jurors in Massachucetts:

http://www.masshist.org/longroad/03participation/jury.htm

In the African-American community, for example, people want juries of their peers, notes Norfolk Circuit Judge Junius P. Fulton. "People should not complain about the makeup of the jury pool if they're unwilling to serve."

Read more about this:

http://hamptonroads.com/node/445321


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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