OF ALL THE JOLTING TWISTS AND TURNS IN THE SIMPSON trial, none was more startling than the defendant's rebirth as a black man. What we tend to forget is that before June 12, 1994, the Juice was no hero to African Americans. His postfootball success was largely due to his ability to make whites comfortable as he played golf with ceos at country clubs from which other blacks were excluded or shucked and jived his way through goofy movies like some modern Stepin Fetchit. Never one to speak out about civil rights, he seemed to shed his racial identity, crossing over...

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