By: Carol Mersch
“Guilty When Black” is the poignant, gut-wrenching story of a young African American woman, Miashah Moses, who, through unrelenting media attention and a rush to judgment by the DA is charged with second-degree murder in the fiery deaths of her two small nieces, Noni, 4, and Nylah, 18 months, when she fed them lunch and left for eight minutes to empty the trash. While she was gone, the stove caught fire and the children perished. The book’s four-part story offers a rare glimpse into the unique challenges faced by minority and marginalized women in Oklahoma, a state with the highest rate of female incarceration in the nation. Miashah’s plight is intertwined with vivid stories of five incarcerated women, the rise of one judge and fall of another, and the landmark exoneration of three black men wrongfully sentenced for crimes they did not commit. The non-fiction book is prefaced with a gripping account of the Tulsa 1921 Race Massacre, the largest slaughter of African Americans in U.S. history that left the city’s affluent Greenwood district, known as the “Black Wall Street,” burned to the ground.