Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America | Los Angeles Public Library

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Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

James Forman, Jr.
In conversation with Robin D.G. Kelley
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
01:19:34
Episode Summary

Why has our society become so punitive? In recent years, critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. However, many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers supported the war on crime that began in the 1970s. James Forman, Jr., a professor of law at Yale Law School and former D.C. public defender, wrestles with the complexities of race and the criminal justice system in his new book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. Chronicling riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims, Forman illustrates with great compassion how racism plagues our current system of tough-on-crime measures. In an eye-opening conversation with Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA Robin D.G. Kelley, Forman shines a light on the urgent debate over the future of America’s criminal justice system.


Participant(s) Bio
James Forman, Jr. is a professor of law at Yale Law School. He has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, numerous law reviews, and other publications. A former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, he spent six years as a public defender in Washington, D.C., where he cofounded the Maya Angelou Public Charter School.
 
Robin D. G. Kelley is the Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA. His books include the prize-winning, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original; Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression; Yo’ Mama’s DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America; Three Strikes: Miners, Musicians, Salesgirls, and the Fighting Spirit of Labor’s Last Century, written collaboratively with Dana Frank and Howard Zinn; and Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination. His most recent book is Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times.


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