I received this note from Beth Doughty:
So I was watching the NBC national news last night, when a story came on about radio host Tom Joyner, and how he had received a posthumous pardon from the state of South Carolina yesterday for his 2 uncles who were executed for the murder of a Confederate veteran in 1913. Very interesting story in general, then suddenly Paul Finkelman was being interviewed because he was the legal representative for Joyner! I yelled out, “Holy Sh**! It’s Paul Finkelman!!!” in front of my 3 year old son (thankfully he was otherwise occupied, and I don’t think he heard me curse.)
You can read about the case and watch the news clip at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33310170/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/; CNN’s post is at http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/10/15/south.carolina.pardon/#cnnSTCText.
Update: Paul posted this message on H-SHEAR in response to a posting about the case from H-SHEAR editor Peter Knupfer:
Thanks so much for the kind words; just one tiny correction, which is really important for this list. The research I did and the analysis I offered was historical, not legal. I looked at the documents in the state archives about the case the way historians do. Fortunately, the history lesson was persuasive. This is a great example of how we historians really can have an impact on our society. The coverage has amazed me, incuding NBC nightly news and a British newspaper. If anyone asks "what do you historians do that matters," we can point to this case. I would be happy to write a bit about the case if there is an appropriate venue. We might expand it on the H-Networks or maybe a JAH symposium on historians using our craft to right wrongs. In this I of course stand the shadow of Peter Irons and his incredible work on the Japanese-Internment Cases. Here are a few more links to the Griffin Bros. case, including two from Europe. It is interesting to see that people outside the US think this matters. http://www.independent.ie/world-news/brothers-sent-to-electric-chair-are-cleared-of-killing-1917598.html http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/6366628/South-Carolina-pardons-black-brothers-convicted-of-1913-killing.html Updated Again - Yet more Finkelmania: Paul also appeared on NPR's Morning Edition for a piece on the commemoration of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry.