Say Latasha Harlins’ Name

April 28, 2018

‘Why, after all these years, did I not know [Latasha’s] name?’ asked Huffington Post contributor Ayofemi Kirby earlier this year. ‘Why, although I prefer not to see the video again, was this footage, her name and the systemic injustice that took her life not as notorious as Rodney King’s?’

Stevenson’s answer to this was simple. ‘When we as a community as a people critique the criminal justice system, we principally focus on males,’ she said. ‘Men’s stories are always more important.’

Say Her Name: On The Legacy Of Latasha Harlins And The 1992 Riots

March 24, 2017

People were very aware of it...But I think what’s happened over the years is that this old narrative of the white male/black male construct has come to dominate the narrative [of the riots], just like it dominates the narrative of race in the United States. People really remember the male aspect of it, but they don’t remember the female aspect of it, too. And that really speaks volumes about our history in general.
— Brenda E. Stevenson

6 things you should know about Harriet Tubman, the new face of the $20 bill

April 20, 2016

She was thought of as a heroic person and an example of black courage. Nothing Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks or Malcolm X or any of the those figures from the 20th century happens without the abolitionists and freedom fighters in the 19th century. They laid the foundation for the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution (elimination of slavery, birthright citizenship and right to vote for blacks)
— Brenda E. Stevenson

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Brenda Stevenson on the importance of the new film 12 Years a Slave

October 18, 2013

I was particularly impressed with the dialogue Ridley created. It is difficult to have slave characters speak the creole language of their day and locations without losing the audience. What we have in this film is a sense that the language is appropriately represented, but it is still changed enough for the audience to be able to follow.
— Brenda E. Stevenson

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Brenda E. Stevenson, writer of wrongs

July 31, 2013

“Historian Brenda E. Stevenson (pictured in her UCLA office, with an African sculpture) mostly writes about the long-gone — 18th and 19th century African Americans, and the lives of enslaved women. Then came the case that made history while L.A. watched: Korean-born shopkeeper Soon Ja Du killed black teenager Latasha Harlins over a bottle of orange juice. A jury convicted Du of voluntary manslaughter, but she was sentenced only to probation and community service.

Stevenson's new book, The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins, analyzes the other ‘no justice, no peace’ case that echoes through the 1992 riots and into the present day.”