Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
For years, racial tensions simmered in the small, rural Louisiana town of Jena. In August 2006 an incident there sparked marches and national discourse on the judicial system and race. This entry examines the circumstances surrounding the incident, the activism sparked by the incident, and the implications of the incident on the following youth who became known as the Jena 6: Robert Bailey, Jesse Ray Beard, Mychal Bell, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, and Theo Shaw. At Jena High School, White students generally gathered under a large shade tree, referred to as the “White tree,” while African American students usually sat on the bleachers. After a Black student asked the principal at an assembly for permission to sit under the tree and the principal indicated that anyone could sit there, a few Black students did so. The next day, nooses were hung from the tree. A few days later, a protest ...