Please join us at the Center for a lunchtime discussion with Frank R. Baumgartner, the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. Baumgartner is co-author of The Decline of the Death Penalty and the Discovery of Innocence, and since coming to Carolina he has researched the death penalty’s demise nationally as well as in North Carolina. With colleagues Isaac Unah (Political Science) and Seth Kotch (American Studies), he is working on a book tentatively titled A Deadly Symbol: Race and Capital Punishment in North Carolina. Baumgartner also teaches a course on Race, Innocence, and the End of the Death Penalty (POLI 203) which currently has 240 students enrolled. Associated with that is a speakers series on the death penalty with eight speakers including the family of Troy Davis, several exonerated inmates from North Carolina and their attorneys, and others; these events are open to the public throughout the fall semester.
Baumgartner will speak about the racial aspects of North Carolina’s death penalty and the relevance of the Racial Justice Act’s passage (2009), revision (2011) and demise (2013). These events make clear that the politics of race, innocence, and the death penalty remain fundamental in our state. At the same time, use of the punishment has never been very common and in recent years has declined so much that it has become almost entirely symbolic (no one has been executed since 2006, and only 1 death sentence has been handed down, state-wide, since 2011). But what a powerful symbol it is.
Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.