Ray Jasper’s Letter


Ray Jasper was executed on March 19th. His letter is a last testimony and what he has to say is remarkable. He is not talking about his own situation but about the position of black people and a system that persistently disadvantages them and in prisons equates or near equates to slavery. Here’s a quick quote:

A French woman who moved to America asked me one day, ‘Why don’t black kids want to learn?’ Her husband was a high school teacher. She said the white and asian kids excel in school, but the black and hispanic kids don’t. I said that all kids want to learn, it’s just a matter of what you’re trying to teach them. Cutting a frog open is not helping a black kid in the ghetto who has to listen to police sirens all night and worry about getting shot. Those kids need life lessons. They need direction. When you have black kids learning more about the Boston Tea Party than the Black Panther Party, I guarantee you won’t keep their attention. But it was the Black Panther Party that got them free lunch.