Dovey Johnson Roundtree 1914 - 2018
May 22, 2018 7:09 AM   Subscribe

An Unsung Lawyer and Officer Who Shattered Racial Barriers
Federal prosecutors had amassed a welter of circumstantial evidence — including 27 witnesses and more than 50 exhibits — to argue that on Oct. 12, 1964, Mr. Crump had carried out the execution-style shooting of Mary Pinchot Meyer, a Washington socialite said to have been a former lover of President John F. Kennedy.

By contrast, Ms. Roundtree, who died on Monday at 104, had chosen to present just three witnesses and a single exhibit to the jury, which comprised men and women, blacks and whites. Her closing argument was only 20 minutes long.

Now, on July 30, 1965, the jury, having deliberated, was back. The court clerk handed the verdict slip to the judge, Howard F. Corcoran. For most observers, inside the courtroom and out, conviction — and an accompanying death sentence — was a foregone conclusion.

“Members of the jury,” Judge Corcoran said. “We have your verdict, which states that you find the defendant, Ray Crump Jr., not guilty.”
posted by y2karl (13 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

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In her 90s, Ms. Roundtree lost her sight to diabetes, from which she had suffered for many years.

That did not keep her, in November 2008, from going to the polls in Charlotte, the city where the Klan had rampaged past her home. There, with the help of a sighted friend, she cast her ballot for Barack Obama.
Keep Hope Alive
posted by y2karl at 7:35 AM on May 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

I haven't heard of Rev. Roundtree before, and this may be part of the reason:

“There were many men who did not appreciate being ground up into hamburger meat by Dovey Roundtree. There are many, many white lawyers — male — in Washington who were humiliated by having been beaten by a black woman. And I think that played out in a number of ways. And one of those ways has been a diminution in the recognition that I think her accomplishments merit.”

Thanks for posting this and helping to make her and her accomplishments more widely known.
posted by TedW at 9:17 AM on May 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


posted by eotvos at 9:25 AM on May 22, 2018

A truly amazing person - I am in awe of her.
posted by jb at 9:27 AM on May 22, 2018

It's a huge conspiracy rabbit hole to go down about Mary Pinchot Meyer: JFK, pot/lsd, CIA bad guys, Ben Bradlee acting as a CIA bag man (!).
posted by k5.user at 10:00 AM on May 22, 2018

posted by allthinky at 10:00 AM on May 22, 2018

It's a huge conspiracy rabbit hole to go down about Mary Pinchot Meyer...

Or, rather, a huge cortical sinkhole.
posted by y2karl at 10:40 AM on May 22, 2018

posted by filtergik at 11:39 AM on May 22, 2018

What an amazing woman. A shame to learn about her only upon her death.

posted by Emmy Rae at 12:02 PM on May 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by Malingering Hector at 3:42 PM on May 22, 2018

posted by bryon at 10:49 PM on May 22, 2018

What an inspiring woman. So often, we seem to hear about the best only after they die.

posted by Quietgal at 8:30 PM on May 23, 2018

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