The recent execution of Troy Davis has caused many to again discuss the merits of the death penalty in the United States. (It also sparked a mass march in New York City that was met with a heavy handed police response). According to the Daily Beast, the South has the highest execution rate in the country, as well as the highest murder rate. On top of that, the incarceration capital of the world is a southern city: New Orleans.
These renewed debates not only bring into question broad topics like the death penalty itself, but they should also let us contextualize them in a regional sense. We should begin asking why is the South the home to so many problems still (to throw yet another one in there: the South is “bearing the brunt” of the US’s raising poverty rate). There are plenty of answers to the question of why the South faces these problems. But one thing should be quite clear, it is something often repeated on this site: the South remains an important part of the country to organize progressive forces.
Amongst the many lessons we learned from the Troy Davis incident (to steal the ANSWER coalition’s article title), we should also add the lesson that the world pays attention to the South, not only to the injustices that happen there but to the folks that organize against those injustices.