One of my fondest and most vivid memories of a cultural event is of the original Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater troupe. I saw them when I was ten or eleven. I was lucky enough to be able to finally take my daughter to see them last year. Much to my chagrin, they didn’t perform Cry. I’d shown her the YouTube videos, so she knows what Cry is about. Continue reading Memories of Ailey’s “Cry”
By Matt Ford
After a seven-week freeze following Clayton Lockett’s botched execution in Oklahoma, three states executed three death-row inmates in less than 24 hours last week. Georgia, Missouri, and Florida had tangled with defense lawyers for months over the secrecy surrounding their lethal-injection cocktails and where they were obtained, a key issue in Lockett’s death. Florida also addressed concerns about its inmate’s mental capacity; his lawyers claimed he had an IQ of 78. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected all appeals, however, and the three inmates—Marcus Wellons, John Winfield, and John Henry, respectively—were successively executed without apparent mishap.
In addition to their fates, Wellons, Winfield, and Henry have something else in common: They are among the disproportionate number of black Americans to have been executed since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
In the three states where they were executed, blacks constitute a disproportionate share of the death-row population relative to the state population. In Oklahoma and Missouri, black Americans are overrepresented on death row by nearly a factor of four. Continue reading Race and the Execution Chamber |The Atlantic