‘Slavery’ and the Jena 6: A Tragedy in Three Acts


It is the modest goal of this Article to consider the twenty-first century American incident not against the panoply of African-American/American history, but rather against but one piece of it: 'Jena 6' and American slavery. Specifically, I would like to explore the broad stresses of that particular history on this event, considering the way in which the energy of the one may have influenced the shape of the other, though I will approach this task from a very particular direction. While it is intellectually legitimate to consider the details of any imagined connection between the contemporary 'Jena 6' controversy and America's slavery history, it is my desire here instead to explore that relationship in its negative rather than its positive. Clearly the very influences of our discrete slavery past are not difficult to imagine or see reflected in the present details of the 'Jena 6' controversy. But how might Jena have looked against a parallel historical backdrop, a backdrop of un-slavery, if you will?


Jena 6, Slavery, Legal history, Race discrimination



Anthony V. Baker (John Marshall Law School)



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