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Blacks and Capital Punishment In the United States about 13000 people have been legally executed since the colonial times The 1930s executed up to 150 people yearly Due to the lack of support of the death penalty from the public the rate went to nearly zero by 1967 The United States Supreme Court banned the practice in 1972 It was later authorized for resumption in 1976 The book The Death Penalty in America provides a table from 1968 to 1980 the total number of blacks on death row during that period of time was 3014 verses 3099 the total number of white men Bedau 63-64 One thing to keep in mind is that blacks make up only 12 of our total population Racism is a nasty word and many people would prefer to look the other way and deny it existence But not only does it exist it exists in one of the most sensitive areas of our judicial system capital punishment Many African American people believe that race is an important factor in determining who will be sentenced to die and who will receive a lesser punishment for the same crime Research on the capital sentencing patterns over the past 20 years has shown that race considerations permeate decisions of life and death in the state courts This topic has created conflict in America and in the courts At the beginning of the twentieth century most black Americans still lived in the Southern states These states were white-supremacy states Black Americans did not vote and they were suppressed and oppressed in countless ways The criminal justice system in the South was no friend of the Southern blacks Gerald C Brandon of Natchez Mississippi was a rarity among white Southern lawyers he told the truth about Southern justice Addressing the Mississippi Bar Association in 1910 Brandon said we have three classes of homicide If a nigger kills a white man
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