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NCJ Number: 222647 Find in a Library
Title: Black Female Executions in Historical Context
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:33  Issue:1  Dated:March 2008  Pages:64-88
Author(s): David V. Baker
Date Published: March 2008
Page Count: 25
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the systematic oppression of executed Black women from the earliest periods in American history.
Abstract: Despite the delusional expansion of civil rights and sovereignty of Black people over the confines of segregation in the modern era, the racial life sexism of American criminal justice has rendered Black women ever more vulnerable to the death penalty; Black women’s crimes of resistance against White brutality paralleled those of slave women decades earlier. Although this essay attempts to isolate racist and sexist conduct of justice practitioners directed toward Black women and the imposition of capital punishment, often the systematic oppression accenting executions is blurred between Black women and Black men. The predominantly White judiciary agents of social control have directed much of their racial violence and brutalization toward Black people generally without much regard to gender. One historically consistent factor giving rise to Black female executions is that justice authorities have executed Black women challenging racist and sexist exploitation by Whites. Although colonial and antebellum slavery fully institutionalized the sexualized persecution of slave women, the perversion of sexual violence against Black women continued throughout Reconstruction and Jim Crow. White violence remains manifested in the gross indifference of criminal justice officials to Black females as victims of White male violence. Gendered racism toward Black female capital defendants is systemic to the prosecutorial selection of capital cases, the deliberate abuse of peremptory challenges in gaining the advantages of White jurors, the racist misconduct in failing to meet Brady safeguards, and the ineffectiveness and often racist disregard of defense lawyers. The historical-contextual analysis furthers our understanding of Black female executions occurring in a societal system of White domination and Black subordination. The death penalty has proven to be an active means subjugating Black women to White interests, even if it is often beyond social sciences and legal scholars to corroborate purposeful and deliberate discrimination. Notes, references
Main Term(s): Black/African Americans; Capital punishment
Index Term(s): Ethnicity; Gender issues; History of criminal justice; Race-punishment relationship; Racial discrimination; Sex discrimination
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