United States - Whites began the process of putting Black Americans, mostly young men, in jail in massive waves of arrests. The pretense was that there was a crime problem and a drug problem. This combined with the supposed HIV/AIDS scare, which was targeted at Black American women.
New York, New York - White police workers and prosecutors falsely tried and convicted five (5) male teenagers of rape. Four (4) were Black Americans. One (1) was Latino. They were charged with the rape of a white woman, in Central Park. She survived.
Four of the youths served 6-7 years in jail. One was tried as an adult, at sixteen (16) years of age. He was in jail for thirteen (13) years.
In 2002, a man was found to be the rapist. The case against the youths was vacated (erased) by the New York courts. None of the white police, prosecutors, nor judge were punished for their actions against the teenagers.
The five sued the City of New York. In 2014, the courts gave them a $41 million total judgment. In 2016, The State of New York settled on a $3.9 million total.
Boston, Massachusetts - Charles Stuart killed his wife and blamed a Black American man for it. Stuart, and his wife Carol, were white. After a pregnancy class, he claimed he drove through Roxbury, a Black American area of Boston.
At a stoplight, he said a Black American man forced his way in the car. Stuart said the man told them to drive to Mission Hill. It was nearby. There, Stuart said the man robbed them. Stuart said this man shot him in the stomach and his wife in the head.
Carol died hours after the shooting. The baby was born premature. His name was Christopher. He died seventeen (17) days later. Stuart was in the hospital for weeks after the shooting.
The story made national headlines. Boston police workers used stop-and-frisk on many innocent Black American men, on the word of Stuart. William Bennett, a Black American man, was jailed by the Boston Police, in the search for the killer.
On December 28, 1989, Stuart said Bennett shot him and his wife. On January 3, 1990, Matthew, the brother of Charles, told the police it was all a lie. Matthew said it was an insurance scam. He had met Charles that night. There, he told Matthew he killed his wife.
On January 4, 1990, Charles Stuart jumped off the Tobin Bridge in Chelsea, Massachusetts. His body was found the next day.
Los Angeles, California - Rodney King was beaten by four (4) white police workers. They worked for the Los Angeles Police Department.
Stacey Koon tasered King twice. Laurence Powell clubbed King. Timothy Wind beat King with a baton. Ted Briseno kicked King.
The attack on King was videotaped. It showed the different assaults on King, by police. King was unarmed and alone.
There was a jury trial and verdict, the following year (1992). The jury had no Black Americans on it. They said all the police workers were not guilty of the assaults on King.
On April 29th, the day of the verdict, the Los Angeles Riots of 1992 started.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested by the Milwaukee police. Dahmer killed 17 people, from 1978 to 1991. Only three (3) of his victims were white. Nine (9) were Black Americans. The rest were other races.
Dahmer was known as the Milwaukee Cannibal. Dahmer chose his victims due to his homosexual (i.e. gay) desire for them. He ate some of his victims. He cut off their heads and put them in his refrigerator. He had sex with some of the dead bodies.
Tracy Edwards, a Black American man, escaped Dahmer. Edwards told the police and got Dahmer arrested. The police found seven (7) heads in Dahmer's apartment.
On November 28, 1994, Dahmer died in prison. He was killed by Christopher Scarver, a Black American man.
Brooklyn, New York - Riots lasted 3 days after Yosef Lifsh killed Gavin Cato and severely injured his sister, Angela. Lifsh was 22 years of age at the time. He was a Jewish driver that hit a building, in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn.
After Lifsh crashed, it caused a pillar to fall on two children, Cato and Angela. When help came, Lifsh was helped first. The children were still trapped until the pillar.
By the end of the rioting, dozens were injured. All 129 arrests were of Black Americans, except for seven (7) whites. There was one (1) million dollars in property damage.
Lifsh was never prosecuted. He was never jailed. He paid nothing to the families of Gavin or Angela, for their loss.
Washington, D. C. - Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings for the United States Supreme Court. Hill worked for Thomas, at one time, and said he sexually harrassed her.
Thoams was chosen by President George H. W. Bush to replace Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court. Marshall had died. He was part of the Civil Rights movement, as an attorney. In contrast, Thomas had no Civil Rights background.
The primary reason Bush had chosen Thomas, was to keep a token Black American on the Supreme Court. Further, Thomas had a record of loyalty to whites, to the harm of Black Americans. This was opposite to Marshall, who most whites despised due to his Civil Rights history.
Before he got the job, Thomas had to be approved by Congress. Future President Joe Biden led the confirmation hearings. Biden got Hill to testify in public that Thomas was a sexual threat.
While Thomas was no ally to Black Americans, Biden used this to publicly show a Black American man, as a sexual predator. Biden used this racist stereotype to push his Mass Incarceration bill, just 2 years later.
Despite the statements by Hill, Thomas was given the job on the Supreme Court, by Congress. In the decades Thomas was a Supreme Court justice, at best, he had an unfriendly effect on the rights of Black Americans.
Los Angeles, California - The Rodney King Uprisings (L. A. riots) began.
At 1 p.m. (PST), Monday, April 29th, Judge Stanley Weisberg announced the not guilty verdict, in the Rodney King case. Four white male police workers, of the Los Angeles Police Department had brutally beaten, Rodney King. The jury allowed them to escape punishment for beating an unarmed Black American man.
The verdict, by the all-white jury, outraged the Black American Los Angeles community. Many in Los Angeles felt the white police workers should have been tried in the city. But, they were allowed a trial in the white-friendly area of Simi Valley. Almost no Black Americans lived there.
By 4. p.m., civil disturbances erupted in parts of Los Angeles. By 5 p.m., the disturbances exploded into what became known as the Rodney King Uprisings (L. A. riots).
This period of civil unrest lasted until May 4th, with 63 people killed.
New York, New York - The Cosby Show ended after the 8th season. It ran from 1984-1992. The ground-breaking Black Americans cast was headed by Bill Cosby. The Cosby Show introduced affluence and middle-class aspirations to audiences across America.
In the 1970s, television (TV) showed Black Americans with modest lives. The stories showed the daily financial struggles of Black Americans. This was usually done in a comedic manner (Sanford and Son, Good Times, What's Happening). The Cosby Show represented a hard shift from the dynamic of economic struggles to one of economic affluence.
First, was The Jeffersons (1975-1985). It showed a solidly middle-class Black American family. The husband was self-made, with modest schooling. His hard work made his family upwardly mobile. He owned a retail service business. His wife stayed home. They employed a Black American maid.
The Cosby Show presented Black Americans as high-earning, educated, professionals. The father, Cosby, was a doctor. The mother, Claire, was a lawyer. They owned a valuable home in a white neighborhood.
It was part of a wave of TV shows that flaunted wealth. Dallas (1978-1991), Dyansty (1981-1989), and Falcon Crest (1981-1990) were the white versions of this era.
During its time, The Cosby Show was a ratings powerhouse. It allowed NBC to create an entire night of highly rated television (TV) shows. From Cosby, white shows such as Cheers, Family Ties, Night Court, Seinfeld, and Frasier enjoyed tremendous success.
Before The Cosby Show, NBC did not have very many successful shows on Thursday night. For this reason, many say Cosby saved NBC's prime-time lineup.
Some criticized The Cosby Show for not showing Black American life properly. Cosby made no mention of the War on Drugs, AIDS, and street crime. These were raging issues during its run. The show ignored issues of poverty, police brutality, housing, and job discrimination.
Lisa Bonet got pregnant, while a part of the cast. She was unwed. It was an opportunity to show single motherhood. Instead, Lisa Bonet was fired from the cast and the issue was dropped.
Despite the criticisms, The Cosby Show gave Black Americans a positive and uplifting image. Its impact shaped future TV shows that had Black Americans, for decades.
New York, New York - Spike Lee released the film of the life of Malcolm X. It began with his youth as Malcolm Little. The movie showed his change into Detroit Red, and time in jail. Lastly, it covered his life as Malcolm X with the Nation of Islam, until his death, in 1965.
Denzel Washington played the lead role, as Malcolm X.
Washington, D. C. - Future President, Joe Biden, made comments for what became the 1994 Crime Bill. This was the last new bill of the Mass Incarceration era.
Biden called Americans 'predators' and wanted them in jail. He called them criminals and single mothers and disadvantaged. He used all the racial code words of the Reagan and Nixon eras. Biden made it clear the police and sheriffs wanted this bill. Black Americans, the targets of the bill, were not asked about it, before it was written.
This Crime Bill sent hundreds of thousands of Black American men to jail, for non-violent drug crimes. It exploded jail and prison numbers. The cost, in public funds, was hundreds of billions of dollars.