The Journal of History     Spring 2007    TABLE OF CONTENTS


14-year-old in Texas gets 14 years in prison for shoving a teacher's aide

March 22, 2007

From: A small town in Texas that seems to relish in its violent racial past... Paris, Texas is the home of the Paris Fairgrounds, a stage where thousands of white "spectators" would gather to burn and lynch blacks as if at some sort of carnival. Today, it is a highly segregated town that has implicity dared anyone to question how it chooses to treat blacks that live in the area.

The facts:

"Black parents have filed at least a 12 discrimination complaints against the school district with the federal Education Department, asserting that their children, who constitute 40 percent of the district's nearly 4,000 students, were singled out for excessive discipline."

The Paris public schools are under investigation by the U.S. Education Department. A 19-year-old white man, convicted last July of criminally negligent homicide for killing a 54-year-old black woman and her 3-year-old grandson with his truck, was sentenced in Paris to probation. Judge Chuck Superville sentenced a 14-year-old white girl, convicted of arson for burning down her family's house, to probation.

A 14-year-old black freshman, Shaquanda Cotton, shoved a 58-year-old teacher's aide at Paris high school in a dispute over entering the building before the school day had officially begun. She was tried in March 2006 in the town's juvenile court, convicted of "assault on a public servant" and sentenced by the same judge, Chuck Superville, to prison for up to 7 years, until she turns 21. Yes, you read that last part right. I'll let it sink in for a second.

So it's 2007, one state is drafting formal legislation to apologize for slavery, and another is trying to flex its "don't mess with Texas" ego. While I complained earlier as to how dismayed I was that some black blogs tend to be angry, this type of reality justifies that sentiment, and rightfully so. While I've never been the most articulate when it comes to expressing the complete shock of "in plain view" racism, I can honestly say that this type of white arrogance and hate needs to be called out and handled swiftly. But how? The article mentions that the NAACP is on the case (rolling eyes), but I feel like more, MUCH MORE, needs to be done.

If you get to the end of the article, the turmoil suffered by Shaquanda in juvenile prison, where 95% of the offenders are repeat and violent (read: real crimes), has caused her to attempt suicide 3 times. 3 times! A 14-year old, my little sister, has tried to kill herself because a racist bigot of a judge put her in prison for shoving someone. SHOVING!

So what can be done? Link to this article. Publicize this story. Let's see what blogging black can really do. Go to the governor's page at and let him know how you feel and how this is complete bullshit.

Free shaquanda cotton. NOW!

I ask that some of my more articulate readers post a statement in the comments that we can all use on the contact form on the Texas governor page.

[update 1]: looks like we are getting the word spread. A fb group has started.

[update 2]: I started a thread over at topix. Interesting pov's, without question. I have also gotten word from a few friends that we have connections to Ebony magazine and CNN that are being explored. Keep spreading the word!

[update 3]: A site has been setup for her at


The Journal of History - Spring 2007 Copyright © 2007 by News Source, Inc.