As many of you know, Troy Davis was executed yesterday, even in the face of mounting evidence that he was not responsible for the death of Police Officer Mark MacPhail nearly 22 years ago. You’ve probably heard the development that 7 of 9 witnesses recanted. Even the Pope called for clemency, but it was to no avail.
Like many of you, I’m still trying to understand what happened to the concept of “beyond reasonable doubt” when asking for the death penalty. It’s very possible that the state of Georgia killed an innocent man.
The first musical response I’ve heard to this case is Kendra Ross’s haunting rendition of the Billie Holiday classic, “Strange Fruit.” Of the piece, Kendra wrote:
This is for Troy Davis, his family, and others whose lives have been impacted by the NEW Jim Crow. This is not to take away from the memory of Officer McPhail (God bless his soul) or his family who loves him. Bottom line: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 11:08PM, we witnessed a major failure of justice. Troy was somebody’s son, somebody’s brother, somebody’s friend, and a child of God. With so much doubt, I don’t understand how the state of Georgia, the DA, the Supreme Court, and so many saw fit to take his life. I am not sure exactly what words or actions are needed to make sure we don’t see these types of injustices happen again and again and again and again. But this is where I will start. I hope you can receive this in the spirit in which it was given…out of love. Thank you Billie for this heart-wrenching work of art.