For Kenneth Foster: No More Death Row
[col. writ. 9/1/07]
(c) '07 Mumia Abu-Jamal
To the state of Texas that sought to extinguish his life, his name is Kenneth Foster; to many of his friends and supporters, his name is Haramia KiNassor, an eloquent and outspoken activist.
That he was ever on Death Row at all is due more to a quirk of Texas law, than anything else.
For the judge, the defense and the DA agree that Foster hurt no one; he shot no one; he killed no one; nor did he rob anyone.
In Texas, under what's called the Law of Parties, Foster's presence near a crime was enough; even though he didn't commit a crime, didn't participate in it, nor profited from it, he was convicted, and sent to Death Row.
If that were not enough, when he still had less than a month to live the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) banned the man from receiving or reading a book on sports!
The book, titled What's My Name Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the U.S., penned by sportswriter, Dave Ziren (pronounced like 'siren'), was banned from Texas Death Row because, in the words of the Aug. 9th, 2007 memo from the TDC publication review committee, "It contains material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption such as strikes or riots."'
I never thought sports was so powerful.
He checked out the objectionable pages, and was even more amazed. The pages cited by the TDC dealt with baseball icon, Jackie Robinson, and heavyweight boxing champ, Jack Johnson.
Both dealt with their resistance to white repression; one, about 1/2 a century ago; the other, perhaps 80 years ago.