Yesterday, the last of the pro-accuser websites, ourheartsworld.com, closed down. The site was co-sponsored by three Black newspapers, the state NAACP, and the Triangle Urban League—in effect, the African-American leadership of
The sponsorship was more than nominal. The site featured a May 28 message to the accuser from Al McSurely, head of the state NAACP’s Legal Redress Committee, promising, “After you finish your undergraduate studies, I will be glad to help you get into law school, where all of the legal education you are now getting can be put to use helping other sisters whose rights have been violated by lying people.”
A message from state NAACP head William Barber asked people to let the justice system work—but based on an underlying statement of fact: “We must also be prayerful for whoever committed these acts because whoever did is suffering from a great sickness of the spirit and hatred for humanity.” Not “alleged” acts, not “asserted” acts—just “acts.” For good measure, Barber also complained about how “when the defense team announces its cherry-picked pieces of evidence, throngs of reporters, cameras and pens in hand, scramble to repeat carefully crafted announcements as if they were objective truths.” Barber cited no specifics to substantiate his claim.
In his/her good-bye and good-luck announcement, the unnamed moderator lashed out at those who have contended that the three people accused by “our sister survivor” were innocent. The moderator said that he/she believes that “those who demand justice must always comport themselves in a just fashion, or else their advocacy is meaningless.”
The unnamed moderator added that the sponsoring organizations “offer no apologies for demanding a cease to ‘trial by media,’ and that a fair and just legal process proceed, a process that would once and for all, determine whether a crime was indeed committed or not.” As far as I could determine, between May and October, the site contained no posts criticizing Mike Nifong for his procedurally improper public statements.
The unnamed moderator concluded with some revisionist history regarding the site’s many postings. He/she affirmed, “All the website has said is let her tell her story, then let the courts decide after hearing all other admissible evidence.”
Directly quoting some of the site’s posts can provide a better sense of how the state NAACP and the North Carolina Black press have defined “comport[ing] themselves in a just fashion.” I suspect that relatively few people would believe that “all the website has said is let her tell her story, then let the courts decide after hearing all other admissible evidence.”
Emphasis added in all the items below.
Many posts unequivocally stated that a rape occurred, and viewed a trial as either incidental or irrelevant.
Please stay strong. There are many people on your side, both black and white. I know that something happened to you in that house. I can’t believe what is going on now on tv talk shows.
I truly believe in you. I believe that something did happen in that house that was not of your consent. I believe that you will continue with much success after all this. I believe that justice will prevail if not in the courts, but in reality. So no matter what happens, believe in yourself as I believe in you.
I must tell you that I completely believe you that the rape, indeed, happened.
They say you were drunk, because They drugged you...They say you have fallen, because They tripped you...They say you were beaten, because They beat you...They say you were a whore, because They raped you.—Noel, Baltimore
Your case is just one more incident to add to the list of atrocities committed against Black people with seeming impunity. But this time, many of us are behind you and, if necessary, in front of you, to seek justice. I believe that what happened to you, happened just as you say it did. You are not the guilty one and no one had the right to forcibly force you to do anything you did not want to do. Stay strong and do not give up the fight to bring justice to these animals. --- Abdurrahimk
A few posts rejected the judicial system entirely:
Although I am a white male myself, I can’t even begin to relate to the behavior those... students showed you . . . They will get what is coming to [them] . . . Respectfully --- Chad Margolin
Through your courage we have found our voices and WE speak. WE SAY NO to sexual violence. WE say never again will we be silent. WE will not look to the oppressor to establish innocence or guilt. It is not for him to determine the extent of the damage he has committed. We know, we feel and we validate your pain because it is ours!!!
Other posts channeled the spirit of Chan Hall, and demanded “justice” for the accuser to compensate for injustices of the past.
We believe you, no matter how much those who assaulted you now attack your credibility... We believe you because our foremothers were raped... Hold on, and don’t give up. Black women of all ages are supporting you because you could be our daughter. - Godspeed --- Ann
It is so unfortunate that so many forces in our world are still primarily and unfeigningly [sic] committed to protecting white male power and privileges; even when it is clear that these gifts are being used for pure evil . . . They never imagined that they were committing these acts against someone as heroic as yourself.—Kenneth J. Frazier
Dear Sister Warrior - Chin- Up! Don’t let those mis-educated assaulters get away with what they have done to you (and to us People of Color) . . .You can see that this non-thinking ignorance has been leading not only to their criminal activities against us People of Color, it has led, unfortunately, to lynchings, castrations, beatings, injustice in the ‘criminal justice’ system - and on and on down through the years since BlackAfrican enslavement times! However, because we can understand that these little arrogant miscreant rapists... have been mis-educated and are also victims of a racist/colorist society, does not mean that they must be exonerated from paying for what they knew to be illegal and immoral.
You need to know that many people are behind and supportive of you. For too long, white men have gotten away with this. I also want to see justice for you because Black men can still go to trials and jail [for] an accusation of raping a white woman. I also want to see that hypocrite DAN ABRAMS humiliated. I hope you have a security team with you at all times. Peace and love ---Michael Sanderlein
Another string of posts invoked the power of the Almighty to advance the accuser’s interests. These posts, too, viewed a trial as either incidental or irrelevant.
I will pray for you to win this case... GOD is on your side each and everyday, while the devil is on their side, each and everyday. --- Richard I. Lawson, Jr. from the Bronx,
I’ve never seen so much pride, arrogance and hatred surrounding a case, which are all attributes of Satan. This could only mean one thing that in the end GOD will get all the Glory . . . Satan’s sons didn’t know that it’s not What, nor is it Who you are that matters, it WHOSE you are . . . This is only the beginning I know more positive things are going to happen because of your courage.
I believe that you were chosen by GOD to help those whose lives have been change or turned upside down by this crime . . . Hold on to the power of GOD, don’t loose faith because GOD is on the battlefield right now fighting for your victory!
Yours Truly, Shekera
There are so, so many cases where people didn’t think they would be convicted of a crime but were. They thought they were too smart for the district attorney or there wasn’t enough evidence for a conviction. This seems to be the same scenario this case is following. Just remember GOD is the judge and jury. GOD knows what happen to you that day and HE says in HIS WORD, vengeance is his and HE will repay!!!!!!!
As the summer proceeded, supporting the cause of “justice” meant turning into a cheering section for Mike Nifong.
Today, I offer a kind word and prayer for the District Attorney --- Noel
June 19: (unnamed moderator)
Thanks to the defense attorneys’ selective spin, emerging questions about the case, and harsh media/blogger criticism of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, the prosecutor, it seems only fair to give Mr. Nifong space to answer some of his critics, and some of those questions. Indeed those queries threaten the very integrity of the case.
July 17: (unnamed moderator)
Resident Superior Court Judge Kenneth C. Titus today limited all attorneys involved in the Duke case in what they can say publicly about the case, making it clear that he had heard enough of the spin, leaks and blatant public release of discovery evidence by the defense attorneys, and was very concerned that it threatened what ultimately is supposed to be a fair trial when it is tentatively to take place in Spring 2007 . . . This is good news for Our Sister, though obviously a little late, and it is certainly good news for her supporters. The truth deserves to come out in a court of law, not some vile, racist website or right-wing cable TV show.
[Titus’ order, which sought to apply lawyers’ rules to all potential witnesses, was eventually modified.]
I’m in full support of the victim and Mike Nifong’s handling of the case. I’ve also joined with
Posts to the site slowed dramatically in late summer, and all but came to a stop after the 60 Minutes broadcast in October, except for occasional commentary from the unnamed moderator. This shift previewed the recent Newsday revelations that Nifong's support from the local African-American community has all but crumbled, leaving the state NAACP and the Black press well behind the opinion of their base.
Perhaps Barber, McSurely, and the other site sponsors truly believe that the above posts represented people “comport[ing] themselves in a just fashion.” But it would seem rather difficult to contend that any of the above posts operated under the sole premise that “all the website has said is let her tell her story, then let the courts decide after hearing all other admissible evidence.”