Keeping It Right

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Location: Moreno Valley, CA

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More Jena 6 Stuff...

Locals Dispute Growing Story of Jena 6

It's got all the elements of a Delta blues ballad from the days of Jim Crow: hangman's nooses dangling from a shade tree; a mysterious fire in the night; swift deliberations by a condemning, all-white jury.

And drawn by this story, which evokes the worst of a nightmarish past, they came by the thousands this past week to Jena, La. — to demand justice, to show strength, to beat back the forces of racism as did their parents and grandparents.

But there are many in Jena who say the tale of the "Jena Six" — the black teenagers who were charged with attempted murder and conspiracy for attacking a white classmate at Jena High School last December — is not as simple as all that.

Black and white, they say that in its repeated retelling — enhanced by omissions and alterations of fact — the story has taken on a life of its own. It has transformed a school-yard stomping into an international cause celebre, and those accused of participating in it into what one major Southern daily came to describe as "latter-day Scottsboro Boys."

And they say that while their town's race relations are not unblemished, this is not the cauldron of bigotry that has been depicted.

To Ben Reid, 61, who set down roots in Jena in 1957 and lived here throughout the civil rights era, "this whole thing ain't no downright, racial affair."

To Read More: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jOl6L858y0iDf4k_28ojhYLcuLGg

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