During the past two years a saga has been unfolding in the small town of Jena, La., that harkens back to an era that the United States would like to think has long gone by. An era marked, in this small community, by violent and grotesque hate crimes and inequality, a time when Black Louisianans were taught to stay in their place or pay the consequences. Sadly it seems that time has passed by unnoticed in this rural southern town, which still clings to the “old” southern way of life. Blacks and Whites do not socialize, and racism is regarded casually as a natural part of life.The story that proceeds is one that seems out of place in an era when we have a Black democratic contender for the Oval Office. It is a sobering reminder that old ways run deep, and hate and fear do not fade away easily, especially in the Deep South. Unfair trials, intimidation and notions of White Supremacy still deeply affect people of color living in this sleepy Louisiana town, which has recently been rocked by international news coverage.
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