Gavel Gamut

By Jim Redwine

(Week of 16 March 2015)

The March 04, 2015 Investigation of the Ferguson Missouri Municipal Court and Police Department by the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division involved hundreds of personal interviews and took seven months to complete. It concluded there was a failure of the Municipal Court, the police department and the city government to administer equal protection and due process to the citizens of Ferguson.

Numerous recommendations for needed change were made based upon an analysis of the causes of numerous injustices. A major finding was the historical discrimination against African Americans. The Report was published a week before two police officers were shot from ambush while on duty during a demonstration outside the police station. A full-blown investigation of these crimes has been launched, but, as of the writing of this article, no one has been arrested.

These cowardly actions are now a part of Ferguson’s, and America’s, long history of violence and injustice arising out of what President Obama has called the legacy of slavery.

Most Americans have knowledge of our Constitution’s legalization of slavery, the great struggle to end it and that unfortunate vestige of slavery, segregation, both by circumstance and by law. The Department of Justice report on Ferguson referred to segregation’s history as a root of today’s problems.

Under the heading “Historical Background” the following was reported:

Until the 1960s, Ferguson was a “sundown town” where African Americans were banned from the City after dark. The City would block off the main road from Kinloch, which was a poor, all-black suburb, “with a chain and construction materials but kept a second road open during the day so housekeepers and nannies could get from Kinloch to jobs in Ferguson.”51 During our investigative interviews, several older African-American residents recalled this era in Ferguson and recounted that African Americans knew that, for them, the City was “off-limits.” 

There are millions of Americans alive today who remember and lived under discrimination by law and by fact, de jure and de facto as it used to be termed. I am one of those Americans. As a child growing up in Oklahoma I personally experienced “Whites Only” and “No Coloreds Allowed” for restrooms, restaurants, water fountains, schools, public transportation, movie theaters and most everywhere. Some of the most segregated places were churches, including the one in which I was baptized.

Many of the convoluted attempts to keep the races separate (but equal) were so ludicrous they would have been comical if not so wrong. In 1948 Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, an African American (called Colored then) woman wanted to attend Oklahoma University’s Law School. Now, you might think if any institution would abhor denial of equal protection it would be a law school. However, the Oklahoma State Board of Regents ruled all Oklahoma educational institutions must keep the races separate.

After the United States Supreme Court ruled O.U. must admit Ms. Sipuel Fisher, the State of Oklahoma created a one-person law school at the all-Negro college in Langston, Oklahoma. After another law suit, a federal court ruled this illegal so Oklahoma University allowed her to attend the law school, but forced her to sit in a special chair marked “Colored” that was chained off from the rest of the class and guarded to keep white students away from her. She also had a separate table in the cafeteria.

O.U. took a similar approach with George W. McLaurin who in 1950 wanted to seek a PhD in education. At first he was denied admission, but after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled O.U. had to admit him, he was forced to sit at a desk just outside the classroom door, had a special desk in the library and had to eat at a separate table in the cafeteria.

I am pretty sure my great-great-grandfather who was wounded at Chickamauga and Shiloh while fighting for the Union would not have expected situations such as Ferguson to exist over 150 years after “The Great Struggle”. In fact, after my high school was integrated in 1957, I figured the “War of Northern Aggression” as my seventh grade teacher called it was finally over.

I was wrong.


  1. and here we have the promotion of the continuing tirade of Obama’s No.1 henchman, otherwise known as Eric Holder and his evil, racist against white people, Liberal/Socialist Anti American enforcement branch: The Department Of Justice. Guess they didn’t need IRS HIT WOMEN Lois the Liberal, Lerner on this operation. Another article on the ole: lets not hold certain law breakers accountable, because – hey, we had slavery in this country a few years ago! We shouldn’t hold anyone accountable for their personal actions of thuggery today, because of slavery. Blah, blah, blah….In words of Mike Brown’s parent’s “Burn it – Burn It down”… the burning, the looting, the thuggery, all unjustified, is what we saw and remember. All of this promoted by the race baiters from the highest levels of government, yes the White House. Sickening that misguided articles are still being written to try and subconsciously distort the facts of the actual shooting and the events surrounding the facts of Ferguson. Articles like this are so misguided they could be in a common core textbook.

  2. It’s obvious you don’t have a clue to what went on in Ferguson for years. My guess is you’re just another mis-informed fox watching bumpkin. The racist white trash in Ferguson broke the law for years against black people and you seem to be ok with that. The DOJ should clean house and the mayor needs to be fired since he was in on the discrimination the whole time. In the meantime try to educate yourself on issues.

  3. Where is the outrage over the 2 police officers shot and nearly killed after Holder’s DOJ report was released?

    • Where is the outrage from racist nut job conservatives after those black people have been discriminated against for years by those cops in the Ferguson police department? Shooting cops is wrong period but they did bring it on themselves by their own actions and the DOJ report proves that. Cops shooting and killing innocent people just because you can is also wrong. When the courts won’t prosecute criminal cops you have a serious problem that many police departments are not interested in fixing. Looking around the country it’s obvious the problem with racist cops is much worse than most people realized. As far as dealing with racist conservatives I’m use to it. They’re every place you go on the internet including this site.

      • Retired, thanks for clearing this up for all of us. Since the Obama/Holder DOJ report found past police racial bias, protesters are now justified in ambushing and shooting 2 police officers.

        • Thanks for not being able to pay attention to what was written in my post about cops. All you righties have the same issues….ADS.

          • When you say “…but they did bring it on themselves by their own actions and the DOJ report proves that.” the rest of the of your that’s “wrong period” is rendered meaningless. Those who justify lawlessness promote lawlessness. Two officers shot and lucky to be alive in an ambush and you reason “but they did bring it on themselves by their own actions and the DOJ report proves that. ” Maybe the real racist is in your mirror.

  4. While the fine and respected Judge made many valid points, the fiasco at Ferguson IMHO showed the political agenda of the race baiters such as Sharpton, Obama and Holder inflamed situation to in the predictable end of police being shot (luckily not killed):

    “The two DOJ reports do not cohere. The first shows that Wilson’s use of force against Michael Brown was fully justified. The second uses that incident to launch a scathing attack against Ferguson, leading to the resignation of its key officials for conduct that looks on balance to be no better or worse than that in other cities around the country. The serious consequence of the second high-profile report is to keep alive the image that racial injustice is alive and well in the United States. What the report fails to understand is that it is as dangerous to exaggerate the risk of racial injustice as it is to ignore it. In a sad sense, the overheated DOJ report contributes to the inflamed atmosphere that led to the most recent shootings in Ferguson.”


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