executive clemency

Hampton Hawes - The Jazz Pianist That John F. Kennedy Saved Fifty years ago, John F. Kennedy granted a presidential pardon to jazz pianist Hampton Hawes and helped make him a legend.

Millions of Americans found inspiration in John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address, but few responded more enthusiastically than jazz pianist Hampton Hawes. Hawes watched the speech from a federal prison hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, where he was serving a 10-year sentence on drug charges. “That’s the right cat,” he later described his reaction to the new president. “Looks like he got some soul and might listen.”

The following day, Hawes told a prison official that he wanted to apply for a presidential pardon and against all odds, President Kennedy responded.

Fifty years ago, on August 16, 1963, JFK granted executive clemency to the pianist, and thus allowed one of the most talented jazz artists of the era to resume his career.  

The Hawes pardon would be one of Kennedy’s last executive acts. Only 98 days later, JFK was shot in Dallas. Kennedy granted clemency to 43 people during his last year in office. Hawes received pardon No. 42.

Is it possible that what appears to have been an attempt to free Black people through an act of executive clemency [the Emancipation Proclamation] was in actuality a critical step in a broader scheme to enslave almost everyone? Even as the Civil War was waged (in part) to liberate the Black bondsmen of the South, Lincoln’s generals picked up the tempo of the Indian Wars, moving to finally extirpate or reservationalize (quarantine) the last vestiges of the world that preceded money. We can say quarantine because the world view of native America was in many ways a compelling example of an actualized freedom that trumped the virtual freedom offered as the primary selling point of the money-world proposition being advanced by the young republic. Once the Blacks had been “freed” and the Indians subdued, nothing stood in the way of money. It could be released upon the world as a fully Democratic viral contagion, reproducing the world in its image as it devoured our planet and the people, creatures, and plants living there. This feast of money upon the World, we are told, is a Manifest Destiny. People are good. People are obedient. Who argues with destiny manifested?

–Thomas Stanley Ph.D, “Emancipation 150: The Great Jubilee”, in Black Quantum Futurism: Theory and Practice


My college course is currently studying the case of Anthony Doyle, a 29 year old man from Dallas, Texas, who was sentenced to death in 2004 for the murder of 37 year old delivery driver Hyun Mi Cho. He’s scheduled for execution two weeks from now (14/03/2014) on the 27th of march 2014.
Although this man committed a capital murder, it has been argued that at the point in time that he committed the crime, he was mentally unstable and unable to make a rational decision. When questioned of why he killed Cho, he claimed he had planned to rob her due to needing to pay for his three week old daughter.
This man deserve to spend the rest of his life in jail for taking someone else’s life and therefor, taking away their human rights. However killing to teach someone not to kill isn’t the way to go about things.
It has been statistically proven that states and countries that use execution as a deterrent, in fact have higher rates of capitol murder. Sentencing someone to death for committing murder doesn’t teach people not to kill, it teaches them not to get caught by someone with more power than them.
My class is currently writing letters to The Clemency Board of Texas, The Governor of Texas, The US Diplomatic Representative in the UK, The Governors Press Office and The office of General Council to plea for the clemency of Anthony Doyle.
If you agree that Capitol Punishment is not the answer, please help us by signing this petition.


September 12 - Happy birthday to Leonard Peltier, American Indian Movement political prisoner.

Please phone the White House today and ask President Obama to grant executive clemency for Leonard.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

For all of my friends and family out there celebrating my birthday,   I wish I was out there with you!  But since I can’t be,  enjoy the day.  Have extra kind words for each other.  Put a smile on someone’s face. Wipe the tears from someone who is crying.  Be a  brother or sister to someone in the struggle.  Do something kind for our elderly and something gentle for our babies.  Be the voice for those who are afraid to speak. Be the protector for the weak.  In doing that, you are a warrior for our people.  It is my prayer that the Creator touches you with good health and happiness and that you live to enjoy many, many more years to come.    Thank you for remembering me on this day, the day the Creator breathed life into me. I am truly blessed with your friendship.   Doksha.    In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Leonard Peltier