Working papers, including a new one by an African-American lawyer, will be published in two minutes.
The new document, entitled “Race and the Criminal Law,” will focus on how the Supreme Court in the 1950s and 1960s used the word “nigger” to define a crime.
It is the latest effort by African-Americans to make a public case against what they see as the disproportionate and racially motivated use of the term in the United States.
“We think it’s important for African- Americans to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” said Johnathan A. Thomas, a partner at the law firm of Lewis, Lewis & Associates.
Thomas said the new document will help “to correct some of the misconceptions about what the word means.”
He said that while the document is not legally binding, the goal is to “create a framework for law students, lawyers and law faculty, to be able to engage with this information and have the best possible understanding of the history of this word.”
The work was done by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Black Law Journal columnist David D. Lewis and African- American attorney Jonathan B. Thompson.
It is the second of its kind in recent years.
Last year, the New York Times published an essay about the meaning of the word that was published in an effort to “correct” the meaning that it has been using for generations.
Thomas, the author of “Rape Culture: The Rise and Fall of an American Crime Story,” said he was drawn to the project because he believes “that this is a way for law professors to have a forum to talk about how the word has been used and how it has impacted the criminal justice system and to have an opportunity to engage on the topic in the context of a legal paper.”
He added that the paper will help students “better understand the history and the meaning” of the N-word.
“It’s not going to be the first time that the word ‘nigger’ has been thrown around,” he said.
“I think that it’s really important for all of us to be respectful of each other’s opinions and we can all look forward to a day when we can look at our history and our history as black people, and look at this word as a whole, not as a word that has a racial connotation,” he added.
Thomas is a professor of law at George Washington University Law School.
The work was funded in part by the MacArthur Foundation.
Thomas also has a book, “Niggers in America: A Black Legal History.”