The preface to the Mangum Opus was penned by a North Carolina A&T professor named Myra Shird—perhaps best known on campus for abruptly resigning her department chairmanship in the middle of the semester last year. Shird’s preface is . . . eye-opening.
Shird reflects on her introduction to the case, and the negative reception from the media she claims serial fabricator Crystal Mangum received:
Public ridicule? Should I even know the victim’s name so early in the investigation? Aren’t their [sic] laws that protect the victim [sic]?
Shird appears unfamiliar with basic
I can only imagine that every word out of the accused mouths was orchestrated . . . On the other hand, there was no one “real” there for the accuser.
The “accused mouths”? What is she talking about? (This, again, is the writing of a college professor.) And the assertion “there was no one ‘real’ there for the accuser”? Did Mangum have “unreal” associates?
As has become customary with those associated with the Nifong/Mangum effort, Shird plays fast and loose with the facts. “The Friends of Duke,” writes she, “raised millions to assist the Duke players with their defense.”
In fact, the Friends of Duke was a grassroots alumni organization devoted to returning the university to traditional academic principles of upholding due process. The group raised nothing—much less “millions”—to “assist the Duke players with their defense.”
Shird laments the unfair treatment she claims Mangum received because of the serial fabricator’s chosen profession:
If an exotic dancer is promiscuous and sleeps with five or six guys within a twenty-four-hour time period, do we find her less credible if she says that the seventh guy raped her?
Yes—if, as in this case, the “exotic dancer” denied having had sex not just “within a twenty-four-hour time period” before the party, but for a whole week before the party.
Shird occasionally veers toward uncomfortable conclusions. She reflects on AG Roy Cooper’s press conference announcing the players’ exoneration:
Cooper further explained, “We believe it's in the best interest of justice not to bring charges.” Whose best interest, Mr. Cooper?
Whose, indeed. Is Shird now suggesting that it would be in Mangum’s best interest for the state to bring charges against her for filing a false police report?
Shird wraps up her preface with two passages that offer an unintentional, if revealing, insight into her skewed mindset. She asserts,
I know women who call exotic dancers whores, but who find their own penchant to only sleep with BMW-driving, well-dressed, white-collar, college graduates who pay their bills as a simple act of self-preservation.
Who are these women? Shird, of course, doesn’t say.
And what is the appropriate historical context through which to interpret the reaction to Mangum? Shird makes Group of 88’er Bill Chafe (who said that the whites who beat, kidnapped, and murdered Emmett Till provided the appropriate historical contest through which to interpret the actions of the lacrosse players) look like a piker. Shird detects enormous implications to the alleged prejudgment of Mangum:
The hypocrisy of judging or labeling has led to major societal catastrophes such as slavery and the holocaust.
The Holocaust? Slavery? And Crystal Mangum’s treatment by the press?