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O.J. Simpson

Television brought another racially charged legal battle into the nation’s living rooms when O.J. Simpson, an African-American who had made it big as a football star and, later, sports broadcaster, was tried for the brutal murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. For almost a year, the televised “Trial of the Century” riveted a significant portion of the population. On October 3, 1995, after having been sequestered for 266 days and then deliberating for less than four hours, the Los Angeles jury found Simpson not guilty. While television had once again united the nation in focus on a single event, the televised verdict revealed a deep national division along racial lines. Whites overwhelmingly deemed the decision a miscarriage of justice, whereas the majority of African-Americans believed Simpson had been the innocent victim of racist police officers determined to frame him for the murder of his white ex-wife and her white friend.

Rodney King | Complete Idiots Guide to American History | E Pluribus Unum