By T.J. English of the New York Times

Forty-eight years ago, as a New York City teenager, George Whitmore was initiated into an ordeal at the hands of a racist criminal justice system.

whitmore-in-custody

George Whitmore, a cognitively challenged 19 year old black man, was falsely accused of the “Career Girl Murders” and arrested in 1963.

For a time, his story rattled the news cycle. He was chewed up and spit out: an ill-prepared kid vilified as a murderer, then championed as an emblem of injustice and, finally, cast aside. That he survived his tribulations and lived to the age of 68 was a miracle.

That Whitmore could die [today] without a single mention in the media is a commentary on a city and nation that would rather bury and forget the difficult aspects of our shared history.

Read more about Whitmore and the wide-ranging impact of his case here.

Learn about T.J. English’s book about the case, The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edgehere.