Mark Pinsky in back row attending Trayvon Martin Trial

The Trayvon Martin Tragedy

COMMENTARY: Concealed handguns a form of white social control
by Mark Pinsky – July 15, 2013

Racism remains a dark, durable — and seemingly intractable — element of the American personality. Predictably, the trial of George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin was a national racial Rorschach test. (read more)

George Zimmerman: The Trial He Should Have Had  
by Mark Pinsky – July 21, 2013

Years ago as a freelance writer, I made a specialty of covering trials involving racial justice and capital punishment in the South, as well as less political but more sensational defendants like serial killer Ted Bundy and Green Beret Capt. Jeffrey MacDonald. Ultimately, despite the excitement and high profile exposure in major newspapers and broadcast outlets, the beat wore me out emotionally, so I gravitated to writing about religion. (read more)

Blog: Justice For Trayvon Martin: Where Are Our White Faith Leaders?

SANFORD, FLORIDA — In the halcyon days of the 1960s civil rights movement, no march, protest or demonstration in the South was complete without white ministers, priests and rabbis prominently in the ranks, linking arms with their African American brothers and sisters. Each was acting — as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once described himself — as a “drum major for justice.” Of course, in that era, most of the white clergy were from up North. (read more)

US Race Row

Edward talks to Mark Pinsky in Florida about why white clergy have been seemingly reluctant to get involved in the case of Trayvon Martin. (From 12:20 min. — 16:00 min.) [listen now]

My Take: Where’s white church outrage over Trayvon Martin?
by Mark I. Pinsky, Special to CNN

Orlando, Florida (CNN) — In the classic Sherlock Holmes story “The Silver Blaze,” the key clue turns out to be a watchdog that didn’t bark when it should have. In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, not far from here, the mystifying missing element so far has been white outrage, especially on the part of central Florida’s religious leaders. (read more)

Justice and Trayvon Martin: Where Were White Liberals? – by Mark I. Pinsky

Wednesday’s decision by Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey to charge George Zimmerman with second-degree murder in connection with February’s fatal shooting ofTrayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager, raises numerous troubling questions. Among the least considered, but perhaps most vexing: In the quest for justice in this case, where were progressive and other well-meaning white people? (read more)

Mural of George Floyd at Colfax Avenue and Race St., Denver, Colorado

George Floyd

Memorialize George Floyd and others as lynching victims | Commentary

by Mark Pinsky – July 17, 2020 | Orlando Sentinel

“The past is never dead,” wrote Mississippian William Faulkner, who knew a thing or two about racial violence. “It’s not even past.”

When The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, known colloquially as “The Lynching Museum,” opened in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 26, 2018, it was universally praised for its simple, symbolic power. Read More

After an online ‘onslaught’ over exhibit on racial justice, a Florida Holocaust museum vows not to back down

by Mark Pinsky – December 15, 2020 | Forward

In late November, the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida sparked outrage when it opened its current exhibition, “Uprooting Prejudice: Faces of Change.”

The bilingual exhibit, which runs through Jan. 31, consists of 45 large-format, black-and-white photo portraits. Chicago photographer John Noltner, a native of Minnesota, was inspired to take the shots in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing at and around the site where he died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Read More

Logo for the Orlando Weekly

The Groveland Four and The Ocoee Massacre

The terrible true story of the Orlando Sentinel’s involvement in the Groveland Four shootings 

by Mark Pinsky | Orlando Weekly

Over the past century and more, white-owned newspapers across the South published racist editorials and reporting that inflamed mobs in cities like Wilmington, North Carolina; Atlanta, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, to go on rampages that cost the lives of hundreds of African Americans. Others incited lynchings, and justified – even congratulated – the mobs that carried them out.

A handful of these newspapers, those with blood on their presses, have written apologies for their historic roles in inciting racist violence. Other papers have folded, too late for apologies. And some are still making up their minds.  Read More


photo of a stack of newspapers

Lynchings and Southern Newspapers

Maligned in black and white

Southern newspapers played a major role in racial violence. Do they owe their communities an apology?

by Mark Pinsky  | Poynter.

Following the Civil War up until the Civil Rights Movement — and beyond — white-owned newspapers across the South served as cheerleaders for white supremacy. Their racist coverage had sometimes fatal consequences for African Americans. Now, some of these papers are accepting responsibility for this coverage and apologizing for it.

We talked to historians, journalists and other experts to determine the impact that these apologies have — if any — and the lessons for today’s journalists.

Read More