Bobbie Jean Johson
As a child I was given up for adoption. While in a foster home I was molested, so I ran away. I went on the streets and I was just, from here to there, just trying to find love in all the wrong places. So one night I was riding with these two dudes in the car and I never knew the car was stolen and I never knew that he had a knife and a gun on him but the police stopped us…
I was 19 years old.
In the American justice system, a confession is considered the queen of criminal evidence. The most powerful piece in the strategy-based boardgame of chess, holds the title of the “queen” and the objective of the game is to place the opponent’s prized member, the “king,” under an inescapable threat of capture.
There are many parallels to draw upon between chess and life. For example, the family dynamic where the man is viewed as the head of the household, yet the woman often does the work of maintaining the family dynamic. Another example would be polar battles of race and class, policing strategies and in this case, a queen sacrifice, to gain a favorable tactical position.
At 19 years old, Bobbie Jean Johnson was suffocated and brutally assaulted in the inescapable confines of a New Orleans police station where they acquired the forced and coerced confession that lead to her life sentence in prison. Maintaining her innocence, for 40 years she had borne the weight of that conviction to finally live as a free woman today.
All Black & Blue, Bruises of a Queen's Crown, 2018