Mark Ciavarella Jr, a 61-year old former judge in Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for literally selling young juveniles for cash. He was convicted of accepting money in exchange for incarcerating thousands of adults and children into a prison facility owned by a developer who was paying him under the table. The kickbacks amounted to more than $1 million.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned some 4,000 convictions issued by him between 2003 and 2008, claiming he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles – including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Some of the juveniles he sentenced were as young as 10-years old.
Ciavarella was convicted of 12 counts, including racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud and tax evasion. He was also ordered to repay $1.2 million in restitution.
His “kids for cash” program has revealed that corruption is indeed within the prison system, mostly driven by the growth in private prisons seeking profits by any means necessary.
Why might this not be a HUGE national story and his name not household? I’ll give you one guess what color those kids were.
Racism is institutionalized & systemic. This is what black people face, this is the reality.
This horrific incident has been well documented, everywhere: from YouTube videos of survivor interviews to PBS Lesson Plans for school teachers. Please do your Google diligence:
From May 30 to June 1, 1921, white citizens of Tulsa bombed burned and shot up the “Little Africa” section of Tulsa FOR 18 HOURS STRAIGHT
Why would they do that? That same old lame excuse, a Black man supposedly did something to a white woman. But the real reason was ECONOMIC JEALOUSY. Whites may have called it Little Africa derisively, but there is a reason that Black Tulsa is known as Black Wall Street
In addition to the 300 Blacks killed, and over 1,000 residential homes burned to the ground, also destroyed were:
The Mt. Zion Baptist Church and five other churches; the Gurley Hotel, Red Wing Hotel, and Midway Hotel; the Tulsa Star and Oklahoma Sun newspaper offices; Dunbar Elementary School; Osborne Monroe’s Roller-Skating Rink; the East End Feed Store; the Y.M.C.A. Cleaners; the Dreamland Theater; a drug store, barbershop, banquet hall, several grocery stores, dentists, lawyers, doctors, and realtors offices; a U.S. Post Office Substation, as well the all-black Frissell Memorial Hospital. All told, marauding gangs of savage whites destroyed 40-square-blocks of Black economic and entrepreneurial prosperity!
64 years after the first bombing of an American city was committed against the Black residents of Tulsa… the second bombing of an American city took place in Philadelphia when the city bombed the black members of the MOVE organization. (see the blackourstory archive for details).
Isn’t it a shame that 76 after the bombing of Tulsa, when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City, most historically illiterate Americans - including American “journalists” - responded as if it were the first time such a horror had been visited on Oklahoma. If only we knew.
While there are many lessons to be drawn from this, a few questions that stick out to me are these:
If the answer to Black second-class treatment from whites in America is supposedly to become the ultimate American capitalists…the ‘model minorities’… how do you explain Tulsa 1921?
For those Black folk who think that the sole answer to Black people’s problems is simply more Blacks becoming business owners and more Blacks spending money with other Blacks… how did that work out for our people in Tulsa in ‘21?
Considering not only Tulsa, but Rosewood, Florida, and many other thriving all-Black towns that you may know of that all met the same fate at the hands of murderous, envious, lazy crackers… WHEN ARE WE GOING TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND TAKE SERIOUSLY THE IDEA THAT BLACK WEALTH (ESPECIALLY ALL-BLACK WEALTH) WILL NEED TO BE PROTECTED WITH PHYSICAL FORCE?
There is a reason that Marcus Garvey AND Elijah Muhammad had armies of trained Black men as a huge part of their organizations. Many of us Black folk took those great men as jokes, yet NO BLACK LEADERS SINCE THOSE TWO have reached the same heights of economic and ideological success and unity of Black people.
Not only do we need to LEARN THIS HISTORY, we need to start taking these events men and movements MORE SERIOUSLY, and doing some CRITICAL HISTORICAL ANALYSIS if we are ever to stop being on the bottom rung of every metric in American life. Not just some casual or accidental reading of history; some CRITICAL. HISTORICAL. ANALYSIS.
TULSA 1921 was real. PHILLY 1985 was real. Will it happen again?