The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the LA Riots

The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins Justice Gender and the Origins of the LA Riots Helicopters thwopped low over the city filming blocks of burning cars and buildings mobs breaking into storefronts and the vicious beating of truck driver Reginald Denny For a week in April L

  • Title: The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the LA Riots
  • Author: Brenda Stevenson
  • ISBN: 9780199944576
  • Page: 188
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Helicopters thwopped low over the city, filming blocks of burning cars and buildings, mobs breaking into storefronts, and the vicious beating of truck driver Reginald Denny For a week in April 1992, Los Angeles transformed into a cityscape of rage, purportedly due to the exoneration of four policemen who had beaten Rodney King It should be no surprise that such intense aHelicopters thwopped low over the city, filming blocks of burning cars and buildings, mobs breaking into storefronts, and the vicious beating of truck driver Reginald Denny For a week in April 1992, Los Angeles transformed into a cityscape of rage, purportedly due to the exoneration of four policemen who had beaten Rodney King It should be no surprise that such intense anger erupted from something deeper than a single incident In The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins, Brenda Stevenson tells the dramatic story of an earlier trial, a turning point on the road to the 1992 riot On March 16, 1991, fifteen year old Latasha Harlins, an African American who lived locally, entered the Empire Liquor Market at 9172 South Figueroa Street in South Central Los Angeles Behind the counter was a Korean woman named Soon Ja Du Latasha walked to the refrigerator cases in the back, took a bottle of orange juice, put it in her backpack, and approached the cash register with two dollar bills in her hand the price of the juice Moments later she was face down on the floor with a bullet hole in the back of her head, shot dead by Du Joyce Karlin, a Jewish Superior Court judge appointed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson, presided over the resulting manslaughter trial A jury convicted Du, but Karlin sentenced her only to probation, community service, and a 500 fine The author meticulously reconstructs these events and their aftermath, showing how they set the stage for the explosion in 1992 An accomplished historian at UCLA, Stevenson explores the lives of each of these three women Harlins, Du, and Karlin and their very different worlds in rich detail Through the three women, she not only reveals the human reality and social repercussions of this triangular collision, she also provides a deep history of immigration, ethnicity, and gender in modern America Massively researched, deftly written, The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins will reshape our understanding of race, ethnicity, gender, and above all justice in modern America.

    One thought on “The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the LA Riots”

    1. Author Stevenson had no way of knowing how tragically timely her book would be -- she spent 10 years researching the lives of the three women whose lives fatally intersected in Compton 20 years ago: Latasha Harlins, a 15-year-old African American girl who stopped in her corner store for orange juice, Soon Ja Du, the Korean immigrant proprietor who thought she was shoplifted and shot and killed her, and Judge Joyce Karlin who -- presiding over her first criminal trial -- let the killer go free. T [...]

    2. not an easy read but do recommend. also worth a watch: Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 (2017 documentary)good luck

    3. Expect lots of facts and figures from this book written by a historian who embraces a sociological approach to her dissection of a failure of justice.

    4. I couldn't get through this book. It was depressing at best and read more like a study/thesis paper. The main part of the story - what happened to Latasha Harlins was VERY interesting but once you have to go down in the weeds into her family history all the way back to slave days it got to be too much.

    5. 1. excruciatingly relevant2. why intersectionality is necessary3. why history is importantessential readingalso recommended (a documentary, not a book): "crips and bloods: made in america"

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