Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

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  • Published: May 29th, 2020
  • Category: Society
  • Comments: 1


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There’s a Black man who was held in trial for treason in 1781, as he had fled the state of Virginia to fight for the British in the American Revolutionary War. For this he was convicted and sentenced to death. His only recorded name was Billy.

Before the sentence could be carried out, however, he was pardoned by the state of Virginia under the auspices of Thomas Jefferson after it was argued by members of the jury that as a slave, he had not the protections of being a citizen and therefore had no allegiance to the nation where he resided.

What is at heart, here, in these demonstrations, is a similar statement as to the social contract by which we are all bound. It is clear that the state is not affording Black people the due protections and rights of citizens, so why should they abide by the rules and strictures of the state?

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