Description: TV SHOW, BLACK JOURNAL, WITH HOST LOU HOUSE, COVERAGE OF ISSUES CONCERNING BLACK AUDIENCE, Initial Broadcast Date: February 15, 1972 90 minutes – Color Three young black lawyers discuss their role in the freedom struggle and reveal new goals, approaches, attitudes, philosophies and concepts emerging in the field of black legal practices. They are Haywood Burns, director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers; Bill Clifton, a third-year student of law at the University of California and a board member of the National Black American Law Students Association; and Kenneth Cockrel, a member of a Detroit law firm and the Black Workers Congress. One innovation propounded by Mr. Clifton involves certificate application to the black-organized National Bar Association as opposed to the American Bar Association. He views the ABA, which is predominately white, as a “vestige of racism … entrenched in the institutionalized pattern of racism that pervades the society … I don’t need ABA to tell me whether I’m qualified to practice law or not,” says Mr. Clifton. (Mr. Burns notes during the program that black lawyers number only one percent of all the lawyers in the United States.) Kenneth Cockrel believes that blacks with legal skills have a clear responsibility “to demonstrate rather graphically to people that the American legal system is nothing but a functional apparatus that exists … only to serve the ruling class” in an imperialist society. Only by “demystifying” the legal system can the people reject it and implement the demise of the imperialist society. He is also involved in exposing the criminality of the “racist-imperialist” institutions – those that profit from the exploitation of blacks. He cites as an example the case of the black worker James Johnson, an employee of the Chrysler Corporation plant in Detroit, who shot three fellow workers. “We demonstrated to the people that in fact this man was not responsible for those homicides. That in fact the Chrysler Corporation and the existence of a racist imperialist system which has denied him every possible opportunity for productive participation in life were in fact the true culprits in this case.” Mr. Johnson was acquitted. The three lawyers also discuss such problems in the legal system and its machinery as racist judges, district attorneys, clerks and bailiffs; laws that most affect the poor and non-whites such as the money bail system; and discrepancies in the system such as bail inconsistencies, exemplified by the case of Angela Davis, who was refused money bail. “Black Journal” is a production of NET Division, Educational Broadcasting Corporation Executive producer: Tony Brown
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