Black Child Lynched in Paris, Texas
For seven years.
The rest of her childhood.
In March of last year, fourteen-year-old Shaquanda Cotton was sentenced to 7 years in prison for shoving a white hall monitor at her Paris, Texas school. The adult monitor says he was not seriously injured.
Shaquanda is a first time offender. She has no prior arrest record. She did cause no serious injury, but that didn’t matter.
“A 19-year-old white man, convicted last July of criminally negligent homicide for killing a 54-year-old black woman and her 3-year-old grandson with his truck, who was sentenced in Paris to probation and required to send an annual Christmas card to the victims' family.”
Now she spends her days and nights at Brownwood Prison trying to stay out of reach of the 2,500, murders, robbers, sex offenders and other violent, habitual offenders she is imprisoned with. She has tried to commit suicide to escape her nightmare.
Just three months earlier, the same judge who sentenced Shaquanda sentenced a 14-year-old white girl, convicted of arson for burning down her family's house, to probation.
"Sometimes I feel like I just can't do this no more--that I can't survive this," Shaquanda says.
Brownwood prison is currently at the center of a state scandal involving a guard who allegedly sexually abused teenage inmates.
(fathers, brothers, sisters,uncles, aunties, cousins, too)
I can't stand to see this child suffer like this. She's already been in that hell hole a year. We must do something.
I tried calling her mother to offer support and to offer her a share of my meager funds, but her number was unlisted--can you blame her. I was able to get through to Brenda Cherry, the civil rights worker mentioned in the Chicago Tribune story. I left a message at her home and I'm waiting for her to return it.
I'm ready to load my car and head for Paris. Anybody want to travel with me?
This post is based on the Chicago Tribune story, "To Some in Paris, Sinister Past is Back" by Howard Witt, Tribune Senior Correspondence, published March 12, 2007. Please read it for additional background.