NPR logo All Eyes on Jena

All Eyes on Jena

As I am writing this, there is breaking news in the case of the "Jena 6." That was the subject we devoted most of our broadcast to today, including interviews with reporters covering the story and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The case began with a confrontation at the high school in this small Louisiana town — the black kids asked if they could sit under a tree used as a gathering place by white kids...when they did so, several nooses were hung in the tree.

Several tit-for-tat racial incidents ensued as a result, culminating in a white teenager being beaten by a group of black students. Those boys — now dubbed the "Jena 6" — were charged with attempted murder.

The black parents are outraged because they say that threats and mistreatment of black students by whites (including a beating and an incident where a white student pointed a shotgun at a group of black kids) have been treated far less severely.

Anyway, this story has become a huge national cause celebre. We devoted most of the show to it today, including a conversation with Rev. Jesse Jackson on how he views his role as a faith leader in a situation like this. And, we had a very interesting commentary by a long-time Jena resident. You have to hear it. That's all I can say...

As I'm writing this...the conviction of Mychal Bell — the only of the "Jena 6" to be tried so far (before an all white jury) who was facing 15 years in prison — has been thrown out by an appeals court.

We'll try to update you on Monday... Until then, have a great weekend...