1 Hum. Rts. & Globalization L. Rev. 3 (2007-2008)
The Story of the Jena Six: The Interplay of History, Hate Crimes, Racial Inequality, and Legal Justice In Jena, Louisiana

handle is hein.journals/huriglolr1 and id is 5 raw text is: THE STORY OF THE JENA SIX: THE INTERPLAY OF
HISTORY, HATE CRIMES, RACIAL INEQUALITY,
AND LEGAL JUSTICE IN JENA, LOUISIANA
KATHRYN M. CARETTI* &N. PIETER M. O'LEARY**
INTRODUCTION
High school campuses typically buzz with the activity of students
rushing from one class to another, extra-curricular activities, or sporting
events. Moreover, all campuses have their unique gathering areas where
students congregate before, during, and after class to socialize and gossip.
For white students on the campus of Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana,
that place was under a large oak tree that sat in the school's courtyard.' The
black students typically gathered elsewhere2, but one day a black student
decided he wanted to sit beneath the tree.3 This seemingly harmless request
led to the surreptitious placement of nooses in the tree.4 The noose, of
course, has been a familiar sight in the Deep South, since before the Civil
* J.D., California Western School of Law, B.A., Dominican University of California.
** J.D., California Western School of Law, M.A., Pepperdine University, B.A., Wilfrid
Laurier University. The authors wish to thank the editorial staff of the Human Rights &
Globalization Law Review for all their hard work.
1 Some dispute exists as to whether this was a whites only tree. See State of Louisiana v.
Bailey, 969 So. 2d 610, 610-11 (2007) (The facts of this [incident] are well known because
of wide spread media coverage... On August 31, 2006, several African-American students
at Jena High School requested to sit beneath a large tree located on the school's grounds,
which was known in the community as traditionally reserved only for whites students.).
School officials granted permission, and the black student(s) sat beneath the tree. See Tom
Mangold, Stealth  Racism Stalks Deep South (BBC News television broadcast May 24,
2007).
2 See Mangold, supra note 1..
3 See Bailey, 969 So. 2d at 610 (2007); see also DeWayne Wickham, Jena 6 Case Awakens
Civil Rights Movement, USA TODAY, Sept. 18, 2007, at 1 A.
4 Incidents of hanging nooses occur regularly in the United States. For example, in
November 2007, a noose was found hanging in a boys' bathroom at Poway High School.
See Blanca Gonzalez, Parents Confront Poway Trustees about Noose; see also Klan
Costume, SAN DIEGO UNION TRIB., Nov. 9, 2007. In September 2007, a noose was found
outside the University of Maryland College Park's Black Cultural Center. See Farai Chideya,
A Hate Crime or a Copycat? (NPR radio broadcast Sept. 12, 2007). More recently, a noose
made of nylon rope was found hanging in a break room of the Austal USA Shipyard. See
Susan Daker, Noose Found in Rafters at Austal Shipyard, MOBILE REGISTER (Ala.), May 8,
2008.

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