When the Lyrical Muse Sings the Creative Pen Dances – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

If you’re a regular reader of my national African-American cultural arts column, you may have noticed that I have not been posting articles as frequently as I once did. The reason is simple enough. Having reached a certain point in the research for my current book-in-progress (at least one of them anyway) I had to reduce as many additional writing obligations as possible to fully concentrate on completion of the work.

For me, this is the part of authorship when the lyrical muse sings and the creative pen dances. The greater bulk of the more rigid tasks of verification and documentation have been satisfied, and imagination may be allowed to take over the processes of narrative construction. The resulting musical flow of image and language stamp the work with its own unique identity. And its own self-defined meanings destined to merge with different readers’ interpretations of the same.

The Writer and the Times

I started the national African-American cultural arts column on July 13, 2009, with a story about the debut of Johnny and Me, Savannah author Miriam K. Center’s play based on her friendship with the late 4-time Academy Award-winning composer Johnny Mercer. That was followed by a profile of acclaimed artist Jerome Meadows.

The next month, August, saw the launch of the controversial series on the trial (and eventual execution) of Troy Anthony Davis, convicted for the murder of Savannah policeman Mark Allen MacPhail.  Not writing about Davis’s trial, to my mind, would have been a case of gross negligence. Doing so was one early indication of what readers would discover over the next few years: basically, I found it impossible to restrict myself (as asked to do) to the subject of “the arts” as pertaining to African Americans.

Please check out the full post by clicking here: When the Lyrical Muse Sings the Creative Pen Dances – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

Notebook on Michael Brown, Kajieme Powell, and W.E.B. Du Bois (part 1 of 2)

“No one seems to think it significant that upon the policemen’s arrival Kajieme Powell possibly had reason to fear for his life and reacted in a manner consistent with his disability.” ––Article excerpt (Aberjhani)

“Democracy is not a gift of power, but a reservoir of knowledge.” –– from The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois

The month of August happens to be one in which a number of notable events in African-American history, relatively recent in historical terms, have occurred. There are the birthdays of such celebrated individuals as author James Baldwin (Aug. 2), President Barack Obama (Aug. 4), and philanthropist and performing artist Michael Jackson (Aug. 29).

From this point forward, people shall also certainly recall August 9, 2014, as the day when 18-year-old’s Michael Brown’s death served to ignite a series of violent night-time protests eerily reminiscent of similar scenes from the 1960s. The chaos also functioned as yet one more reminder of how readily the lives of African-American men are deleted from this world by violence.

With the 2009 killing of 22-year-old Oscar Grant in Oakland, Calif., the 2011 execution of Savannah’s 42-year-old Troy Anthony Davis, the 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, and the currently-pending case of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson found dead in a rolled-up wrestling mat at his school in Lowndes County, Georgia, so fresh in recent memory, such a reminder was hardly necessary.

But there it painfully is. As Jaeah Lee reported in Mother Jones and others have written elsewhere, similar occurrences are far more frequent than many might imagine. This reality is nothing like advantageous diversity that many multiculturalists prefer to believe is possible for the United States. It also says much more about the cost of romanticizing faith in guns and violence than lawmakers and lobbyists seem willing to acknowledge.

To read the full special report article by Aberjhani please click here:
Notebook on Michael Brown, Kajieme Powell, and W.E.B. Du Bois part 1 of 2 – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 17: 1st Anniversary of the Execution – by Aberjhani

Mosaic poster of executed prisoner Troy Anthony Davis. (Courtesy of NAACP)

From the time he was first placed on trial for the murder of Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989 until his death by execution one year ago, September 21, 2011, more questions than answers have tended to accumulate where the case of Troy Anthony Davis was and is concerned.

As far as any observers––including such trained onlooker as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Amnesty International, and Color of Change–– have been able to tell, Davis was not executed because he was proven guilty.  He was executed because technicalities of applied legal practice and questionable choices in regard to his defense failed to confirm his innocence. For the average person, such a distinction is murky at best. For Troy Anthony Davis––and for an as yet undetermined number of individuals––it literally meant the difference between life and death.

The case of Troy Anthony Davis is not one that shall gently disappear inside the shadowy annals of American history. It generated while it lasted too much pain for too many people. Moreover, prior to culminating in the highest dramatic fashion with the executed prisoner’s death, there was that of his mother Virginia Davis only a few months before. And after his death, his courageous sister Martina Davis-Correia succumbed to the cancer she had been battling at the same time she fought on her brother’s behalf.   

It shall also continue to linger, inform, and influence because too many issues associated with it remain dangerously relevant. Considerations of race in the American judicial system represent only one such issue. The increasing use of DNA forensics testing ––a technique which the lack of physical evidence in regard to the Davis/MacPhail case rendered inapplicable––under suspiciously unclear circumstances is another.

According to the Innocence Project founded in 1992, “To date, 297 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 17 who served time on death row. These people served an average of 13 years in prison before exoneration and release.”  

Troy Davis served 22 years in prison before his execution.

In the case of the slain teenager Trayvon Martin, the shooter George Zimmerman has steadfastly maintained he shot Martin because the teenager had grabbed his gun and was trying to shoot him. This past week, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a statement that none of Martin’s DNA was found on the grip of the gun.

The Capital Punishment Debate

To read the full article by Aberjhani please click the following link:

Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 17: 1st Anniversary of the Execution – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 16: Davis Executed | Aberjhani | Blog Post | Red Room

Rev. Raphael Warnock talks with hostess Amy Goodman of Democracy Now during livestream broadcast. 

Rev. Raphael Warnock talks with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now during livestream broadcast.

 

After many people had made their peace with the idea of Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis’ life ending at 7 p.m. on September 21, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Courts just after 7 p.m. issued a call for a “temporary delay” of his death, but then again at 10:20 said it would not block the execution.  Officials then announced that Davis was executed at 11:08 p.m. 

The planned execution of Davis for the 1989 murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail  topped news broadcasts on every major American television station Wednesday. Protests against the execution were staged globally in cities from Oslo and Paris to New York and Atlanta. The online television and radio program Democracy Now had scheduled a live stream broadcast from outside the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison at Jackson, where Davis was executed, to last from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The broadcast instead, with host Amy Goodman, lasted for four hours beyond that scheduled time.

For more please click this link:
Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 16: Davis Executed | Aberjhani | Blog Post | Red Room.

Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 15: Georgia Board Denies Clemency | Aberjhani | Blog Post | Red Room

Troy Anthony Davis (AP photo by Savannah News Press)

 

 

 Neither petitions bearing the names of almost one million people nor requests from such high-profile figures as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI convinced the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to cancel the execution of Troy Anthony Davis scheduled to take place September 21.

With the Board presenting its announcement just one day before the planned execution, it appears that the two-decade-long struggle to free Troy Anthony Davis, following his conviction for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, may soon come to an end.

The Board listened to hours of testimony from Davis’ supporters and prosecutors before choosing to reject his appeal for clemency. The inmate’s case over the past twenty years has created a forum for debates over the constitutionality of the death penalty and raised many questions about effectiveness and fair practices where the American judicial systems is concerned. It has also forced the families of the slain Officer MacPhail and the imprisoned Davis to live with the ongoing pain generated by of a lack of closure.

For more on the call for clemency from Angela Davis and others please click this link:
Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 15: Board Denies Clemency

by Aberjhani
Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 15: Georgia Board Denies Clemency | Aberjhani | Blog Post | Red Room.

Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 14: Death Order Signed | Aberjhani | Blog Post | Red Room

Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 14: Death Order Signed | Aberjhani | Blog Post | Red Room.

Martina Davis-Correia (left) with the late Virginia Davis, sister and mother (respectively) of Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis. Please click link above for story.

Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 12: U.S. Supreme Court Denies Appeal

Troy Anthony Davis (photo by AP and Savannah News Press) 

Troy Anthony Davis (photo by AP and Savannah News Press)

Having attempted to obtain his freedom for more than twenty years, Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis may have lost his final chance when on March 28, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it would neither review Davis’s requested appeal itself nor order the Federal Appeals Court in Atlanta to do so.

Davis and supporters have been battling for his freedom since he was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of off-duty police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in Savannah. He has been scheduled to be put to death three times but each time obtained a stay of execution pending further investigation into his case. Davis had long contended that a review of new evidence would establish his innocence, and when seven out of nine witnesses recanted their testimonies against him, it appeared the legal tide might eventually turn in his favor.

However, although the Supreme Court did order an evidentiary hearing held for Davis last summer, Judge William T. Moore ruled in the hearing that revised statements and the proposed new evidence were not sufficient to confirm Davis’s innocence. He publicly chided Davis’s defense team for their handling of the case even as he himself acknowledged that as yet some doubt did remain regarding the likelihood of Davis’s guilt.

“Passing the Buck”

While Davis’s family and supporters have understandably been fighting for his release, the family members of slain Officer MacPhail have expressed their belief that Davis is guilty and have rallied for his execution.

Upon hearing the news of the Supreme Court’s most recent decision, Davis’s sister Martina Davis-Correia told news reporters, “It’s troubling, it’s upsetting, it’s like everyone wants to pass the buck and no one wants to address the real issue of actual innocence.”

That “passed buck” now sits in the hands of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, a five-member board known to almost never postpone executions.

At this point, Georgia state officials are basically free to move ahead with Davis’s execution. Ironically enough, earlier in March federal regulators seized the state’s supply of the drug sodium thiopental, which is one of the key drugs used to administer lethal injections. Doubts have been raised about how the state obtained its supply of the drug and consequently all executions in Georgia have been placed on hold.

Despite the current outlook, Davis-Correia, who has been waging her own personal battle against cancer, has vowed on behalf of her brother “to continue to fight.”

This is the twelfth installment of Aberjhani’s Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis Series.  For part one, please click here . To make sure you catch future installments, please sign up for a free subscription.

by Aberjhani

Continue the discussion on redroom.com