broken Confederate flag

A Black Man in Tennessee Awarded New Trial After His Jury Reportedly Met in a Room Filled With Confederate Memorabilia 

A Tennessee man has been awarded a new trial after an appeals court ruled that the room where the jury for his trial met led to a biased and unfair judgment against him because it was filled with Confederate memorabilia.

Tim Stelloh of NBC News reported that “a Black man’s criminal conviction was overturned in Tennessee after an appeals court said the jury, which deliberated in a room adorned with a Confederate flag and a portrait of Jefferson Davis, had been ‘exposed’ to ‘improper influence.’”

In a 31-page decision, the Tennessee criminal court of appeals ruled that Tim Gilbert deserved a new trial because of implicit racism and bias jury members may have experienced from being surrounded by Confederate ephemera.

According to Stelloh, “Gilbert was arrested after a family dispute on Christmas Eve three years ago in Murfreesboro, southeast of Nashville. A grand jury indicted him the following April on charges of reckless endangerment, unlawful possession of a firearm and resisting arrest, and he was convicted in a jury trial last year.”

Following his conviction, the jurors that met to discuss Gilbert’s case deliberated in what’s known as the “UDC room” of the Giles County Courthouse, which is overseen and maintained by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

According to Stelloh, James Curwood Witt Jr., the appeals judge who wrote the decision in Gilbert’s favor, “noted that it wasn’t clear how the private group came to ‘possess’ the room nearly a century ago or add its emblem to the door in 2005.” 

“Gilbert’s lawyers argued that having a room ‘festooned’ with Confederate memorabilia and maintained by the UDC implied that the court ‘subscribes to the confederate principles’ and that, to many, ‘the confederacy and racism go hand in hand,'” Stelloh added.

The decision in Gilbert’s favor goes even further, stating, “’the symbols on that wall do nothing but embolden jurors to act on racial animus.”


Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

Latest News

Melanie Willingham-Jaggers

People on the Move: Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, New Executive Director of LGBTQ Advocacy Group GLSEN

The nationwide LGBTQ+ advocacy group Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has announced the appointment of its new Executive Director, Melanie Willingham-Jaggers. They will be the first Black, nonbinary individual to lead the group in its 32-year history. Founded in 1990 by a group of educators focused on helping…

Walmart interior

Black Corrections Officer Wrongly Accused of Shoplifting in Walmart Claims Store Employees Racially Profiled Him 

Despite Walmart’s ongoing commitment to diversity as an organization, employees at one store in Georgia have been accused of racially profiling one of their customers. Monique Beals of The Hill reported that “David Conners, a Clayton County corrections officer, was stopped and handcuffed by a Fayetteville police officer while he…

Walgreens exterior

Walgreens Planning Virtual Summit To Promote Supplier Diversity

National pharmaceutical giant Walgreens (No. 39 on the DiversityInc Top 50 list) has announced an upcoming supplier diversity summit designed to help the country’s numerous diverse businesses and entrepreneurs promote their businesses and offerings.  Business news site Retail Info Systems (RIS) reported that the virtual event, scheduled for April 5th…

Olivia Munn

AAPI Forum With Actress Olivia Munn To Discuss Anti-Asian Discrimination Hit with Racist ‘Zoom Bomb’

An online gathering of Asian American women and their allies to talk about anti-Asian discrimination felt the damage firsthand when a racist internet troll attacked their meeting. Leah Asmelash of CNN reported that the “virtual gathering of high-profile Asian American creators, including actress Olivia Munn, became the subject of their…

Boeing CEO David Calhoun Provides ESG and Supply Chain Update in Message to Employees

Originally published at Boeing Company ranked No. 17 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun shared the following message with employees addressing the company’s fourth-quarter results: As we share our fourth-quarter results, I want to thank you for your hard work and…

Cox Communications logo on screen.

Cox on 5 Things To Not Compromise in 2022

Originally published at Cox Communications ranked No. 32 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   As you jump into a new year, you may have a list of resolutions you plan to work toward. From short-term goals like reading one book per month to long-term…