Cheryl D. James


Cheryl D. James was a senior at Jefferson High School in 1971 when she was arrested for assaulting an FBI agent who had come to her house to arrest her brother, Charles T. James Jr., for desertion from the Navy. Judge Gus Solomon sent her to federal prison for 18 months (she was 17), but he allowed her to finish high school first. She was arrested at her graduation. Her case caught the attention of civil rights activists, including the Black Panthers and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, which accused the FBI and the justice system of racism for imposing such a harsh sentence on a teenager. The Cheryl D. James Defense Committee organized efforts to appeal her case and to raise bail. She was released on bail in March 1972, and her sentence was commuted in 1973.

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In copyright. Used by permission of the copyright holder, who retains publication rights thereto. Use of resources from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any reproduction use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Photographs Dept., Oregon Historical Society.


  • PUpic_001347



File format


  • Orhi104453; Photo file 113-A

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