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Contempt of Court

In this age of computers and fax machines, we as a people have devised and set up laws that protect us and keep us on the right track. However these laws and rights that each American shares and enjoys today, have not always existed. Common people, who were forced to face injustices and were "railroaded" by the system because at that time, no one before them sought to challenge the laws or there was no need to change them, has fought them for. Even though, these laws were changed and new ones were put in their place back in the early part of this century, when they were still new, there was still a problem. Some of these laws and rights were somehow looked over when the subject of race came up. For example, in the book Contempt of Court, Leroy Phillips and Mark Curriden tell about the story of Ed Johnson. Johnson was a black man who lived in Chattanooga at the turn of the century. Now, Johnson himself was not really of any importance. He didn't invent a new way of picking cotton or discover a cure for some prevalent disease that was sweeping the countryside, nothing like that at all. In fact he was a nobody, just a common person, with a poor education to boot. The only thing that is important about Johnson is his case, State of Tennessee v. Johnson, in which Ed Johnson was accused of the crime of rape, but not just raping anyone, a white woman, and not just any white woman, but a young, white woman in the South at the turn of the century. Johnson, being a black man and being accused of such a heinous crime did not win him any fans, which is the reason for the importance of this case. Because he was black and it was early in the century only forty years after the Civil War, the people of Chattanooga were outraged and wanted quick justice. They didn't really care if they had the right man as long as he was black and somewhat fit the description of the perpetrator. This is part of the reason that Johnson's case …

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