Here are some updates on topics I’ve written about on the blog before that might be of interest:
On contextualizing confederate monuments:
This summer it was announced that new markers will be placed at four Atlanta confederate monuments to provide a broader historical context for the people and events being commemorated. Since removing monuments is off the table by Georgia law, contextualizing the monuments more thoroughly is the next best step while the debate regarding that law continues to unfold. Check out this piece in The Smithsonian for more information.
Last year, in second grade, my son did a research project on a place in Georgia of his choosing– it’s history, how it changed over time, and its ongoing significance. He happened to choose Oakland Cemetery. It was a great choice, as it gave us a chance to talk about the geographic landscape of Atlanta, segregation (he was confused as to why there would be separate historical Jewish and African American sections), and some of the place’s most famous residents. As we walked around gathering information, he gravitated to the confederate monuments there (of course he did – they’re huge!). “The Lion of the Confederacy” marks the grave of 3,000 unknown confederate soldiers, and the obelisk towers over the marked graves of confederate soldiers. I filled in the context on the civil war as best I could, but I would have loved more information available on site to help us, especially regarding when these specific monuments were erected, by whom, and what else was happening with racial politics in Atlanta at that specific time. I plan to take him back to the cemetery to see what is added.
(This year is third grade and the kids learn about government and take a field trip to the state capital. I enthusiastically volunteered to chaperone this upcoming trip so that I can see whether and how the docents address the problematic monuments there. I will let you know, readers.)
On the Curtis Flowers’ case:
Last year I recommended the APM podcast In the Dark which documented and investigated the trials of Mississippi resident, Curtis Flowers, accused of murdering four people at a furniture store in 1996. Mr. Flowers has undergone six trials for the same crime, and the prosecution has not been able to obtain a valid conviction. Prosecutor Doug Evans has been found, on multiple occasions, to have dismissed potential jurors in those trials on the basis of their race. Investigators of the murders followed questionable methods, seeming to direct witnesses, hone in on Flowers early on, and fail to pursue other leads. Meanwhile, Flowers has lived behind bars for 22 years, most of that time on death row.
In June, part of Flowers’ case was heard before the Supreme Court, his lawyer arguing that his conviction should be reversed due to the prosecutor’s racial bias during jury selection. In a 7-2 ruling, the justices threw out Flowers’ conviction from his sixth trial. In August the Mississippi Supreme Court threw out the conviction as well, and now it is up to the prosecutor to decide whether they will pursue the case a seventh time. Flowers’ lawyers will ask the judge to dismiss the charges if the prosecutor is unwilling to; they are also requesting that Flowers be released on bail. The In the Dark team continued its investigation of the case, leading to several major developments. This includes key witnesses recanting their testimony, and untenable timelines from other possible suspects. Find the updates on the most recent episode, released July 1, 2019, here.
On the Braves:
Post season here we come!! Magic number to clinch the NL East is three. Acuna is about to make 40 homeruns, 40 stolen bases (he’s at 39, 37 as of this posting). Markakis is off the injured list and on a tear. Ozzie is running out of that helmet every single game. Still love baseball, still love the team, still will never do that f*ing chop. #stopthechop