The Law: The Agitator

In Texas, where the average time served for homicide is less than six years, Lee Otis Johnson might appear to be an exceptionally dangerous criminal. For the past 42 months he has been languishing in prison, serving a sentence of 30 years. His crime: giving one marijuana cigarette to an undercover Houston policeman.

There is little doubt that Johnson's real "crime" was to be a militant black radical, a leading member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In May of 1967, there was a confrontation between Houston police and the predominantly black students of...

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