Other photo of Charles Lane
Charles Lane went to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, where he was managing editor of the school newspaper, The Tattler.
Other photo of Charles Lane
Charles Lane earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1983.
Other photo of Charles Lane
Charles Lane earned a Master of Studies in Law from Yale Law School in 1997.
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The Day Freedom Died
(The untold story of the slaying of a Southern town's ex-s...)
The untold story of the slaying of a Southern town's ex-slaves and a white lawyer's historic battle to bring the perpetrators to justice Following the Civil War, Colfax, Louisiana, was a town, like many, where African Americans and whites mingled uneasily. But on April 13, 1873, a small army of white ex-Confederate soldiers, enraged after attempts by freedmen to assert their new rights, killed more than sixty African Americans who had occupied a courthouse. With skill and tenacity, The Washington Post's Charles Lane transforms this nearly forgotten incident into a riveting historical saga. Seeking justice for the slain, one brave U.S. attorney, James Beckwith, risked his life and career to investigate and punish the perpetrators - but they all went free. What followed was a series of courtroom dramas that culminated at the Supreme Court, where the justices' verdict compromised the victories of the Civil War and left Southern blacks at the mercy of violent whites for generations. The Day Freedom Died is an electrifying piece of historical detective work that captures a gallery of characters from presidents to townspeople and re-creates the bloody days of Reconstruction when the often brutal struggle for equality moved from the battlefield into communities across the nation.
Stay of Execution
(The United States stands alone as the only Western democr...)
The United States stands alone as the only Western democracy that still practices capital punishment. Yet the American death penalty has gone into noticeable decline, with annual death sentences and executions dwindling steadily in recent years. In Stay of Execution, Charles Lane offers a fresh analysis of this unexpected trend and its moral and political implications. Countering conventional wisdom that attributes the death penalty's decline to public rejection of the "ultimate sanction," he shows that it is instead related to the ebbing of violent crime itself. The death penalty is not only more popular than critics claim; it is also less flawed by wrongful executions or racial bias. Lane argues that capital punishment should be preserved, while proposing major reforms to address its real inequities and inconsistencies.
(Freedom’s Detective reveals the untold story of the Recon...)
Freedom’s Detective reveals the untold story of the Reconstruction-era United States Secret Service and their battle against the Ku Klux Klan, through the career of its controversial chief, Hiram C. Whitley In the years following the Civil War, a new battle began. Newly freed African American men had gained their voting rights and would soon have a chance to transform Southern politics. Former Confederates and other white supremacists mobilized to stop them. Thus, the KKK was born. After the first political assassination carried out by the Klan, Washington power brokers looked for help in breaking the growing movement. They found it in Hiram C. Whitley. He became head of the Secret Service, which had previously focused on catching counterfeiters and was at the time the government’s only intelligence organization. Whitley and his agents led the covert war against the nascent KKK and were the first to use undercover work in mass crime - what we now call terrorism - investigations. Like many spymasters before and since Whitley also had a dark side. His penchant for skulduggery and dirty tricks ultimately led to his involvement in a conspiracy that would bring an end to his career and transform the Secret Service. Populated by intriguing historical characters - from President Grant to brave Southerners, both black and white, who stood up to the Klan - and told in a brisk narrative style, Freedom’s Detective reveals the story of this complex hero and his central role in a long-lost chapter of American history.
Charles Lane Edit Profile
Lane went to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, where he was managing editor of the school newspaper, The Tattler. He earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1983. As a Knight Fellow, he earned a Master of Studies in Law from Yale Law School in 1997.
Lane is a former foreign correspondent for Newsweek and served as the magazine's Berlin bureau chief. His coverage of the former Yugoslavia was featured in the book Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know, edited by Roy Gutman and David Rieff.
The New Republic's owner, Marty Peretz, appointed Lane as editor in 1997 after firing Michael Kelly. Kelly had published a series of articles that Peretz felt were too critical of President Bill Clinton. In 1998, a scandal arose at The New Republic when fabricated reporting by Stephen Glass was discovered. Lane fired Glass. Peretz replaced Lane with Peter Beinart in 1999. Lane reportedly learned of his firing from the media before he heard about it from Peretz.
The Glass fabrications were "the greatest scandal in the magazine's history and marked a decade of waning influence and mounting financial losses," the New York Times would later report. Explaining why it took so long to catch Glass' fraud, Peretz blamed two of his editors, Michael Kelly and Lane, for not catching the fraud earlier. Lane, Peretz claimed, ignored obvious warning signs of the fabrication, and then attempted to unfairly lay the blame to his predecessor, Kelly. Peretz claimed that Lane's alleged inaction "sullied the good name of the New Republic. Peretz subsequently fired Lane." According to an account in the American Prospect, "Lane got the news [of his firing] from a Washington Post reporter who called to inquire about his future plans."
Lane has taught journalism at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and at Princeton University.
In 2008 Lane published The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction, about the Colfax massacre of 1873 in Louisiana of blacks by the white militia, including the murder of surrendered prisoners. He explored its political repercussions during Reconstruction, including the resulting Supreme Court case from the United States prosecution of perpetrators, United States v. Cruikshank (1876). The Court ruled that actions of individuals were not covered by constitutional protections and suggested that individuals should seek relief in state courts. But during and for many decades after Reconstruction, these rarely prosecuted and never convicted white men for offenses against blacks.
In 2019 Lane published his newest book, Freedom's Detective, which reveals the untold story of the Reconstruction-era the United States Secret Service and their battle against the Ku Klux Klan, through the career of its controversial chief, Hiram C. Whitley.
Lane speaks two foreign languages: Spanish and German.
Lane is married to a German immigrant from the former East Berlin. They have three children.