Readers Note: On May 18 the Raleigh News & Observer published a lengthy, extremely positive profile of Duke professor and author Tim Tyson whose book, Blood Done Call My Name, is currently being made into a movie.
The N&O's profile, written by J. Peder Zane, said nothing about Tyson's false statements on the airwaves, in print and elsewhere which helped launch the Duke witch hunt and enable a frame-up attempt which led to the indictments of three young man later declared innocent. Tyson has yet to apologize for his false statements to the young men, their families or the Duke and Durham communities.
I was one of a number of readers who contacted Zane about the N&O's failure to mention Tyson's Duke Hoax role and question him about it.
I've also posted concerning Tyson's role as has KC Johnson. For further background see the following posts: N&O ignores Duke's Tyson's framing role, More concerning the N&O's Tim Tyson profile and KC Johnson’s post: Tyson Reinvents History. See also KC's Tyson Reinvents Some More.
With that as background, what follows is an email I've sent Zane.
In my post Tim Tyson's Hunt charges look bogus (May 27) I promised to respond to this part of your last email:
The Duke lacrosse case was outrageous. But so was the Darryl Hunt case - and the many other miscarriages of justice that Tyson has addressed. What have you had to say about that? Travesty that it was, why is Duke lacrosse seemingly the only case that so many people are angry about?About the Darryl Hart case and miscarriages of justices in North Carolina,
J Swift, KC Johnson and others have responded on the thread of your post: "Tim Tyson revisits Duke lacrosse case."
They’ve provided extensive documentation refuting Duke professor Tim Tyson’s false claim that poeple interested in justice for the victims of the Duke hoax and frame-up attempt are people whose concern for racial justice is, as Tyson puts it, “confined to ‘the vanilla suburbs,’ and always will be.” They’ve also cited numerous factual errors Tyson's made concerning other matters, including extremely serious charges concerning the Hunt case. Tyson has been provided document citation refuting his charges. Days have passed and he's not responded.
Readers can view it all on this thread at your blog.
For myself and my blog, I’ll just say three things:
1) I’ve often and strongly supported across-the-board state and federal investigations into police and prosecutorial malfeasance in North Carolina. See, for example, this May 7, 2008 post: Send the U. S. Justice Department to North Carolina.
2) I’ve posted a number of times concerning The Innocence Project and expect to again shortly when one of its founders, Barry Scheck, is in the area in connection with his representation in civil rights violations suits of the three young man who were indicted during the frame-up attempt.
3) As Dr. King often reminded us, we can’t have justice for some unless we’re willing to grant it to all. That was one of the thoughts I kept in mind when the Duke lacrosse case broke, and people like Tim Tyson forgot about due process, ignored obvious investigative and prosecutorial travesties, and used the airwaves and print media to distort the truth and inflame racial passions.
With that said, I don’t see any need to respond further to what Tim Tyson’s said about people like me in “the vanilla suburbs.”
Throughout our exchanges, Peder, I’ve viewed you as a decent, serious person seeking to explore differences.
On my end I’ve done my best to speak to your concerns and make clear why I view Tyson as I do. Others have helped: KC Johnson with two outstanding posts and a number of commenters at your blog who’ve also made outstanding contributions.
Going forward I plan to maintain an active interest in most aspects of the case.
I hope you follow it, too. I’d be very interested to read what you write.
John in Carolina