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Lax Update

In the latest weird twist in the Duke lacrosse case, the accuser apparently
made a similar claim 10 years ago
, telling police in Creedmor that three men
raped her continually. She filed the report when she was 18, but said the
alleged attack took place when she was actually 14.

According to other reports, the New Black Panther Party has offered to guard
the alleged victim, but her father says he considers the organization to be
racist and he says "I don't have anything to do with them."

One article requires some rebuttal. In the Amsterdam News, Alton
Maddox, who represented Tawana Brawley, has a lot to say, some of which is wrong
and some of which, to us anyway, seems ludicrous. The ludicrous first:

Rape of Black women is routine throughout the United States and it is
done by white men with impunity. To be sure, it is a political crime. Some
young white men rape Black females in preparation for marriage and to keep
their fiancÈes “pure,” sexually, at the church altar.

That's just such a bizarre thing to toss out there, uttered without any
documentation or proof whatsoever. It's a laughably absurd statement,
other than the fact that some people will believe it.

We also think he's factually incorrect on a point about the Duke family:

Like with many white institutions of higher learning in the United
States, including Clemson University and Brown University, Duke University
was built on the illegal profits from slave labor. Washington Duke, the
patriarch of the Duke family and a Confederate soldier, attracted nearby
Trinity College to Durham. Trinity College is now Duke University...The Duke
family, which started its economic exploits in the tobacco business,
expanded into hydroelectric power. Duke Power Company provides electricity
to residents and businesses in North and South Carolina. If District
Attorney Michael Nifong is shuffling his feet in prosecuting the Duke
athletes, his political career is as dead as a doornail....Today, Duke
University still embraces the same southern traditions as UGA did in the

Our understanding of the Duke family is that they were anything but wealthy
before the war. This passage is from Duke's biography of Washington Duke:

Washington Duke (1820-1905), industrialist and philanthropist, was born
on his parents' farm, located on the Little River in what was then part of
Orange County, in North Carolina. He once said that he considered himself
very poor twice in his life--first, when he began making a living with
nothing but "willing hands and a stout heart" and second, upon
returning to his home after the Civil War. In the first instance he made a
modest living farming, and in the second, he grew wealthy by turning to the
manufacture of tobacco products.

Certainly it's true that black workers were exploited. But as far as we
understand, the Duke's were never wealthy enough to own slaves before the war.

On a historical and geographical level, it's worth mentioning that slavery
was not as widespread in North Carolina as it was in other southern states for a
very basic reason: transportation was terrible.

There are no significant rivers to use to ship things to the coast, and the
state only has one port of consequence. And roads were a disaster in North
Carolina until recent times. It's certainly not that people in this state
were of a higher moral character than other southerners. The
infrastructure simply wasn't there.