However, lost in the deluge of coverage of the Thursday rally, which, although peaceful for the most part, was another example of the "rent-a-mob" tactics employed by America's two premier civil rights racketeers, is a simple chronology of the significant events which led to Thursday's rally. The Alexandria Town Talk has thoughtfully compiled such a list, and I replicate it here for easy reference:
Timeline of the 'Jena Six' case
Town Talk staff
Here is a timeline of events related to the "Jena Six" case.
Students arrive at Jena High School to find three nooses hanging from a tree in the center of the campus. Earlier in the week, some black students had asked whether they could sit under the tree alongside the white students.
Three white students are recommended for expulsion by the Jena High School principal after being accused of hanging the nooses.
Schools Superintendent Roy D. Breithaupt announces that the students recommended for expulsion instead had been suspended, though he refused to say for how long, citing student privacy rules.
Fire destroys the main academic building at Jena High School and is ruled the work of an arsonist. Later that night, a fight is reported at the Fair Barn in Jena at a private party.
A fight is reported at the Gotta Go convenience store in Jena in which investigators say three students beat another man and took his shotgun. One of those accused later says the man had pulled the gun on them and that they had disarmed him.
Jena High School reopens four days after the fire, with classes held in the undamaged wing of the school, library, band room and the home economics cottage. According to court documents, on the same day school reopens, white student Justin Barker is attacked by several students, knocked unconscious and rushed to LaSalle General Hospital. The LaSalle Parish School Board declares a state of emergency after the fire.
It is announced that four people have been arrested in the Dec. 4 fight -- Carwin Jones, 18, Robert Bailey Jr., 17, Theo Shaw, 17, and an unnamed juvenile who was later identified as Jesse Ray Beard -- and charged with aggravated second-degree battery. Also, Shaw, Bailey and Ryan Simmons, 17, are arrested on charges of theft of a firearm, second-degree robbery and disturbing the peace in connection with the Dec. 2 fight. Deputies arrest Justin Sloan, 22, of Jena, in connection with the Nov. 30 fight and also implicate Bailey in that fight.
It is announced that another unnamed juvenile has been arrested in the Dec. 4 fight.
The LaSalle Parish District Attorney's Office announces that the charges against the six students arrested in the Dec. 4 case have been upgraded to attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. One of the unnamed students is identified as Bryant Purvis, 17.
Nearly 500 people join hands at the Jena High School football stadium in a unity rally.
It is announced that one of the two juveniles charged in the Dec. 4 fight - Mychal Bell, 16 - is being charged as an adult with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. Bail is set at $90,000.
Purvis, Jones and Beard posted bail and were released from jail.
Relatives of the students accused in the Dec. 4 fight say they have been expelled.
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the LaSalle Parish Courthouse shouting "Free the Jena Six" - the name now given to the students charged in the Dec. 4 fight. It is revealed that Bailey also has been released from jail.
Justin Barker, the victim in the Dec. 4 fight, is arrested after being accused of bringing a gun onto the Jena High School campus. Authorities say the gun, a hunting rifle, was found in Barker's truck.
Breithaupt says he is recommending that Barker be expelled.
The trial of three of the Jena Six is postponed until at least June 25.
Court proceedings begin for Bell, whose charges are reduced to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same.
An all-white jury is selected to try Bell after only 50 of 150 people called to jury duty show up. None of the prospective jurors are black.
LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters calls 17 witnesses to testify before resting, while Bell's defense attorney, Blane Williams, calls none.
Bell is convicted of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same after the jury deliberates for just shy of three hours. He faces more than 20 years in prison when sentencing begins on July 31.
The tree in which the nooses were found is cut down.
The Rev. Al Sharpton becomes the first national civil rights leader to visit Jena in support of the six students.
Martin Luther King III speaks in support of the students in Jena, and meets with Bell and his family.
First day of school; mood remains relatively calm.
After court records reveal that he has prior criminal offenses, Bell is denied bond.
Jena High School officials ban "Free the Jena Six" T-shirts.
Bell's conviction on conspiracy charges is thrown out. Charges against Jones and Shaw are reduced.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson announces a march on Jena to be held on the new date of Bell's sentencing, Sept. 20.
Four of the five students charged with attempted murder have their charges reduced.
Bell's conviction is overturned by an appeals court, but he remains jailed. Although a sentencing hearing is no longer necessary, civil rights leaders say the Sept. 20 rally will go on as planned.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and others visit Jena in advance of a big rally planned for Sept. 20. Buses begin arriving in Alexandria from around the nation with people planning to attend the rally. A gathering to show support for the Jena Six is held in the Alexandria Riverfront Center.
Thousands of people, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, march in Jena on behalf of the Jena Six. The demonstration draws national media attention.
You will note that the national media coverage focused almost exclusively on the "Jena 6" themselves. One would think that these individuals had been working on a chain gang for the past year. The city of Jena itself has been falsely represented as a retrogade Jim Crow outpost. The national media reacted likewise to the case of another anti-racist "icon", Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of gunning down police officer Daniel Faulkner in cold blood. In a society plagued by Orwellian-style inverted values, Jamal becomes the hero, Faulkner the non-person at best and the oppressor at worst. And also completely lost in the shuffle is that the attempted murder charges originally preferred against most of the Jena Six, which in retrospect appeared excessive, have long since been downgraded to aggravated battery charges, much more consistent with the gravity of their offense. It was the original overcharging which really sparked the outrage. But the national media does not advertise that fact
There is a real victim in the Jena Six case whose memory is also being flushed down a memory hole. You will learn more about him in my next post.