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“Can the Wounds of the Aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement be Healed through Restorative Justice?”

Whitson, Marian
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Paper presented at the annual meeting of the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CRIMINOLOGY, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, Georgia, Nov 14, 2007.

For over ten years Black Americans sought to acquire equality under their constitutional rights through the political system. However, to remove the stronghold of Plessy v Ferguson was proven not to be an easy task. Surely the passage of Brown v Board of Education was a milestone to desegregate public facilities, but it was proven not to be sufficient to integrate any facility. Realizing that the problems would not be resolved as quickly as desired, Black Americans took the means of “last resort”. Public boycotts of buses, restaurants, stores and public displays announcing a refusal to continue to be classed as secondary citizens and a proclamation to claim rights due them under the Constitution were met with hostility and often violence. Leaders were labeled as traitors, communists and anti-Americans determined to provoke changes in a legal system whose primary beneficiary were white Americans. Regardless of the provocateur, the victims, the offenders, the depth of community and or group involvement, the 1960s left the Country with a need for social healing….a need for restoring community values, individual self-worth and social justice.

This article examines, whether after five decades, there remains a need for community and social healing, and if so is restorative justice an acceptable method to accomplish these goals?


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