The Worst Thing We've Ever Done: One Juror's Reckoning with Racial Injustice
Carol Menaker (Author)
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DescriptionIn May of 1976, twenty-four-year-old Carol Menaker was impaneled with eleven others on a jury in the trial of Freddy Burton, a young Black prison inmate charged with the grisly murders of two white wardens inside Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison. After being sequestered for twenty-one days, the jury voted to convict Mr. Burton, who was then sentenced to life in prison without parole.
For more than forty years, Menaker did what she could to put the intensely emotional experience of the sequestration and trial behind her, rarely speaking of it to others and avoiding jury service when at all possible. But the arrival of a jury summons at her home in Northern California in 2017 set her on a path to unravel the painful experience of sequestration and finally ask the question: What ever happened to Freddy Burton--and is it possible that my youth and white privilege were what led me to convict him of murder?
The Worst Thing We've Ever Done is Menaker's inspirational account of journeying back in time to uncover the personal bias that may have led her to judge someone whose shoes she never could have walked in.
She Writes Press
April 11, 2023
5.5 X 8.4 X 0.7 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author
Carol Menaker is a writer living in the Sierra Foothills in Northern California, where she retired after a forty-plus-year career writing and managing communications for universities and nonprofits. She was raised in a Jewish family in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She holds a BA in theatre arts/acting from Pennsylvania State University and an MS in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and she enjoys travel, yoga, walking, and bicycling. The Worst Thing We've Ever Done is her first full-length work. She lives in Grass Valley, CA.
"A heartbreaking account of an all-too-familiar story of justice gone wrong. Gripping and superbly written, this is an important book, courageously illuminating the shadow side of our ethos of liberty and equality." --Sean Murphy, National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Creative Writing and author of The Time of New Weather "Haunting, heartbreaking, and unerringly candid, this story invites us all to look at ourselves, our presumptions, and the impact of the choices we make. This is a brave book, and Menaker is a brave author to take it on." --Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, MFT, author of Filling Her Shoes and host of The Morning Glory Project podcast "Carol Menaker's book is deeply personal and sharply journalistic--taking us to a moment in time that has haunted her and will haunt you . . . a page-turner that breaks your heart but also gives you hope that each of us may yet summon the courage Carol has to cultivate our own moral compasses and, most importantly, give a damn about equal justice." --Mag Dimond, author of Bowing to Elephants: Tales of a Travel Junkie