A blistering character study & an examination of the American melting pot & the judicial system that keeps it in check, Twelve Angry Men holds at its core a deeply patriotic faith in the U.S. legal system. The play centers on Juror Eight, who is at first the sole holdout in an 11-1 guilty vote. Eight sets his sights not on proving the other jurors wrong but rather on getting them to look at the situation in a clear-eyed way not affected by their personal prejudices or biases.

Reginald Rose deliberately and carefully peels away the layers of artifice from the men and allows a fuller picture to … More

Born OTD 1828, Leo Tolstoy. This powerful novel begins with a courtroom drama (the finest in Russian literature), all the more stunning for being based on a real-life event. Dmitri Nekhlyudov, called to jury service, is astonished to see in the dock, charged with murder, a young woman whom he once seduced, propelling her into prostitution

She is found guilty on a technicality, and he determines to overturn the verdict. This pitches him into a hellish … More

With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life; the abolition of the prison. As she quite correctly notes, American life is replete with abolition movements, and when they were engaged in these struggles, their chances of success seemed almost unthinkable.

For generations of Americans, the abolition of slavery was sheerest illusion. Similarly, the entrenched system of racial segregation seemed to … More

The three lives in this creative nonfiction account are united by the presence of actual harm—sometimes horrific violence….Together they explore the questions: People can do unimaginable things to one another—and then what? What do we as a society do? What might redemption look like?

Imarisha doesn’t flinch as she guides us through the difficulties and contradictions, eschewing theory for a much messier reality. The … More