From Dred Scott To Breonna Taylor; African-Americans Have No Rights That Whites Are Bound To Respect.

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( Although I expected that the Grand Jury hearing evidence in the murder of Breonna Taylor murder would not deliver serious charges against what amounts to a hit squad, the resurfacing of an always present injustice through my soul into such a spiral that the only comfort that I could find was playing John Coltrane’s Alabama on repeat; it is still playing nearly twenty-four hours after the announcement.

Jazz aficionados will tell you that John Coltrane composed this riveting musical eulogy in response to the September 15, 1963, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church by the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham, Alabama. The bombing killed Addie Mae Collins (14), Cynthia Wesley (14), Carole Robertson (14), and Carol Denise McNair (11); yes, it is important that we say their names as well. Each of these African-American girls is as blameless for the white terrorist attack that took their lives as Breonna Taylor.

Breonna Taylor

Experience has taught me that it is crucial to my sanity and the maintenance of my soul that I release emotions through writing. This posting is at the very least a desperate attempt to make sense of what has occurred and place it within a larger historical context. While reflecting on what all of this means and what I could say about it, my mind came to rest on U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney for reasons that I hope to explain below.

Chief Justice Taney is best remembered as the writer of the U.S. Supreme Court decision for the case Dred Scott v. John Sanford (1857). According to Taney, Thomas Jefferson’s words that “all men were created equal” were never intended to cover persons of African descent. In essence, Blacks were not and never could be citizens of this white nation. Making matters worse was the assertion that Black people had no rights that any White man, woman, or child had to respect.

The continuing spirit of Taney’s words should be apparent to all during these moments after the Grand Jury’s decision to not charge any of the three marauding officers for their actions in the death of Breonna Taylor; the only charges being issued are three counts of wanton endangerment against Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into neighboring apartments during the March 13th raid. Hankison’s bond was set at a paltry $15,000 for his offenses against the drywall of the neighboring units.

If I did not know any better, I would swear that U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney’s spirit guided the Grand Jurist as they made this inexcusable decision to not even issue charges so that a formal trial could occur.

The daunting message that the same bigotry that guided Taney in the 19th Century still remains in the new millennium is clear to all who are courageous enough to view it. The same racial bigotry and institutionalized racism crafted by the Founding Fathers as they birthed this questionable democracy remains to this moment.

When all of these factors are considered together, it is obvious that Taney’s Dred Scott vs. John Sanford opinion that Blacks have no rights that any White man, woman, or child are bound to respect remains the rule of law to this very moment. And there does not appear to be a darn thing that anyone can do about it.

Staff Writer; Dr. James Thomas Jones III

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