Who Was Joan Little? What Happened to the Right to Self-Defense?
On Black History Month, we discuss the groundbreaking 1970s trial of Joan Little in North Carolina - called "The Trial of the Decade" by the Chicago Tribune. Feminist and civil rights organizations came together to fight for Little's freedom after she killed a white jailer who sexually assaulted her. We also look at the cases of Inez Garcia and Dessie Woods, with journalist, author and activist Victoria Law.
|Joan Little (left) on the day of her acquittal.|
The tale of Joan (pronounced “Jo-Ann”) Little is one replete with the hardships of a young African-American woman struggling to survive in a world that has been unkind to her gender. Coupled with the harsh realities of her upbringing, crime became a refuge for Little. Despite this, Little would become the first woman to be acquitted of murder by way of justifying killing in the name of self-defense against sexual assault on August 15, 1975.
Victoria Law is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women, which won the 2009 PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) award. She frequently writes and speaks about the intersections between mass incarceration, gender and resistance.
Kate Raphael of Women's Magazine asks Victoria why don't we see the support of women who act in self-defense today as we saw in these earlier cases, specifically Marissa Alexander, Kelly Savage and the New Jersey Four. To find out more about Kelly Savage go to www.womenprisoners.org. Click here to sign a petition in support of Kelly.
Click here to listen to entire show. 59:50 min.
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Dance: ODC Presents Dance and Diaspora
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Feb 20-21, 2015 8pm 3153 17th Street in San Francisco
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