Inaugural Post!

Today marks the first time I am blogging as a criminal defense and civil rights attorney in Georgia.

Although I had set up this blog some time ago, it has taken me a while to come to this point, partly because I have been busy setting up my solo practice, and partly because I needed time to think of a direction for this blog, i.e., what subjects should or should not be discussed in this blog, what ethical concerns arise from being a blogger and attorney, etc.  I don’t know if I’ve completely resolved those issues, but, for the moment at least, I am content knowing that there are things worth discussing with respect to criminal law and civil rights not only in Georgia but the United States as a whole.   And this blog will provide me with a forum to do so.

The title of my blog is taken from Ralph Ellison’s famed novel of the same name.  It begins with the following passage:

I am an invisible man.  No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms.  I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind.  I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.  Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass.  When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination – indeed, everything and anything except me.

It is perhaps not a stretch to say that Ellison’s description of the “invisible man”  is all too familiar for those who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.  Not because the criminal process itself is often bizarre and incomprehensibly complicated, although that I am sure contributes to one’s feeling and status of “invisibility”, but because criminal activity is the result of one’s sense of “invisibility” in society.  That is the perspective from which my discussion of criminal law and civil rights will be framed.  And I invite all of my readers to call me out when I stray from that perspective.

– AW

One response to “Inaugural Post!

  1. Hello… possibly a divine sign of self-encouragement – me coming across your blog as I am doing civil rights research for a personal matter. Your “Inaugural Post”, ” feeling and status of “invisibility”, but because criminal activity is the result of one’s sense of “invisibility” in society” gave me new energy. I am visible to the right side of the law.

    Not sure if you will even read this response; I rarely ever comment on blogs. However, during my senior year at York/CUNY, 2005 my research paper was on Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man”. Reading your post literally made me go to my Hotmail account, which I also rarely use, but wanted to share my introductory paragraph. As I am awakened ~ Thank you for hope

    Tue 5/24/2005, 9:25 PM
    “The mindset of blacks living in New York has been shaped and molded through intense situations and perceptions, governed by the thoughts of the sociably acceptable citizens of America. The journey that blacks have taken throughout history includes the migration from the harsh southern states of harsh prejudices and racism. This migration serves as a major contributor to the evolution of the mentality of blacks living in New York. The migrations that many blacks made were not only physical moves, but mental ones as well. Many blacks with respect to their mentality have gone through stages of progression. There was, at first, a strive for acceptance wherein many blacks wanted to be recognized as individuals, citizens, human. We are shown this strive in Ralph Ellison?s phenomenal and awakening novel Invisible Man, where the narrator, who is not given a name, is the main character. The reader follows the narrator as he escapes the severe racial persecution of the South in the hopes of gaining acceptance in a North he believes to be more tolerant. The next stage is that of an infiltration mentality wherein many blacks were no longer concerned with the simply the possession of certain rights, but what would be done with them. Therein, many blacks used a harmonious voice to declare ultimatums- no longer were they going to be pacified; they were demanding their civil liberties. James Baldwin?s classic The Fire Next Time, which opens with a letter written to his nephew, ?My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation? explores the rebellious upheaval of blacks mentality during this time. Last we are put in the ironic scaffold of extravagance, in which the black youth have become the primary focus. It is a paradoxical point that must be sorted out to further understand the development of blacks’ mentality and their evolutionary concept of the American Dream.”

    ~N.L. Smiley

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