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Joan Little collection, 1973-1975 .6 Linear Feet — 1 box

This collection documents the case of Joan Little, an African-American woman from Eastern North Carolina who was tried for the capital offense of first-degree murder when she killed a jailer who had sexually assaulted her. She was aquitted of this charge, and her story became a flash point for women's rights, prisoner's rights, and the issue of racism in the criminal justice system. The collection contains of materials used by Southern Poverty Law Center counsel and documentary filmmaker Morris Dees, including exhibits for the defense and official court documents. Also included is original poetry written by Little while incarcerated, print media clippings, and an original screenplay, "Free Joann Little."

This collection documents the trial and controversy surrounding the case of Joan Little. It consists of poetry written by Joan Little while incarcerated, including "I Am Somebody", correspondence from Southern Poverty Law Center counsel Morris Dees to Little's Durham, NC defense attorney Jerry Paul, letters of support and publicity for the Joan Little Defense Fund, trial materials prepared by the defense, official court records from the Beaufort County Superior Court, print media clippings, a North Carolina State publication on prison standards, and an unpublished screenplay, "Free Joann Little" by the screenwriter Joel Olansky.