From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America
By Elizabeth Hinton
Illustrated. 449 pp. Harvard University Press. $29.95.
Reviewed by Michael R. Glass
When I was sixteen years old, a group of friends and I thought it would be fun to make “dry ice bombs,” a contraption where the pressure of the expanding gas pops a plastic bottle. It was, indeed, tons of fun, but when a neighbor heard the long bang, she thought it was a gunshot and called 911. After falling asleep on my friend’s couch, I woke up in the middle of the night to a police officer standing over me. “You’re under arrest,” he said.
“[T]hey’re knocking down negroes ‘round here”: Public Racial Violence and Black Self-Defense in Early 20th Century NYC
By Patricia M. Salmon
During the past several years I have researched and documented more than two dozen murders involving Staten Island and/or Staten Islanders. Many have been quite unique. The following is a killing that occurred in Manhattan with the killer attempting to utilize a series of Staten Island transports in an effort to permanently discard of the body. While his explanations for committing the crime and his actions were certainly exceptional, it is here once again proven that unreciprocated love will lead many individuals to behavior that is neither rational nor amusing.
By James D. Livingston
For over six weeks in May and June of 1896, New York was fixated on the sensational trial of Mary Alice Livingston for the alleged murder of her mother. During the lengthy trial, Governor Levi Morton finally signed the controversial bill that would in 1898 consolidate Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx into the city, more than doubling the city’s population and increasing its area tenfold. Thomas Edison’s new fluoroscope was on display at the Electrical Exposition, and people stood in long lines for the novel experience of viewing the bones in their hands. Another Edison novelty then exciting New Yorkers was his “Vitascope” motion pictures showing at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall. The city’s first horseless carriage race was held, with John Jacob Astor one of the judges. But the bicycle was still king, judging from a twelve-page supplement of Hearst’s Journal that estimated 200,000 New Yorkers were avid cyclists. Two among them were millionaire “Diamond Jim” Brady and his close friend, actress and singer Lillian Russell. Russell cycled regularly in Central Park. The theatre season was nearing its end, and featured the final stage appearances of the year of Sarah Bernhardt, the French performer considered the outstanding actress of the period. But for over six weeks of 1896, the murder trial of Mary Alice Livingston was Manhattan’s top news.
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