Headley, Bernard D.

views updated

HEADLEY, Bernard D.

PERSONAL: Male. Education: Howard University, Ph.D. (sociology).

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o J. D. Tremblay, Southern Illinois University Press, P.O. Box 3697, Carbondale, IL 62901.

CAREER: Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL, professor emeritus of criminology and criminal justice; University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, professor of criminology.

AWARDS, HONORS: Two-time Senior Fulbright scholar, Caribbean Regional Lecturing Program.


The Jamaican Crime Scene: A Perspective, Eureka Press (Mandeville, Jamaica), 1994, Howard University Press (Washington, DC), 1996.

The Atlanta Youth Murders and the Politics of Race, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1998.

SIDELIGHTS: Bernard Headley is a professor of criminology at the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, where he teaches in the department of sociology, psychology, and social work. His research and writings focus primarily on the ways in which race relations, politics, and socioeconomic conditions affect how crimes are committed and prosecuted. His first book, The Jamaican Crime Scene: A Perspective, examines the historical causes for the high crime rate in Jamaica. He discusses the effects of the plantation system, slavery, and colonialism, and how these led to the island's present economic situation, which forces them to depend on more prosperous nations in the region.

In The Atlanta Youth Murders and the Politics of Race Headley explores the case of a serial killer who brutally murdered twenty-eight young black men and two black women in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981. Another African American, Wayne Williams, was eventually arrested and convicted of two of the murders. While there was sufficient forensic evidence linking Williams to the crimes, and he had opportunity, the question of motive remained unanswered. Headley became aware of the case in 1981 when he spoke with a number of Atlanta residents who were disturbed by the rash of disappearances in their neighborhoods, and he ended up attending most of the trial. In a review for the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Bard R. Ferrall commented that Headley "examines the divergent views of Atlanta's white power structure, the African-American representatives of government (including the city's black mayor), and the members of Atlanta's African American lower class and poor." Social Justice contributor Anthony M. Platt wrote that "the tale of a serial killer is . . . transformed into an investigation of how Atlanta's economic and political power structure, the federal government, the media, the local police and court system, and grass-roots community organizations used this case to enact their racialized conceptions of the New South."



Chicago Defender, April 10, 2000, "NEIU Scholar Using Fulbright to Research Jamaican Justice," p. 2.

Choice, May, 1999, J. R. Feagin, review of The AtlantaYouth Murders and the Politics of Race, p. 1696.

Contemporary Sociology, May, 2000, Ryken Grattet, review of The Atlanta Youth Murders and the Politics of Race, pp. 548-549.

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, summer, 1999, Bard R. Ferral, review of The Atlanta Youth Murders and the Politics of Race, p. 1506.

Social Justice, Spring, 1999, Anthony M. Platt, review of The Atlanta Youth Murders and the Politics of Race, pp. 237-241.


Southern Illinois University Press Web site,http://www.siu.edu/~siupress/ (October 27, 2004), "Bernard Headley."

United States Embassy, Kingston, Jamaica, Web site, http://www.usembassy.state.gov/kingston/ (October 27, 2004), "Bernard Headley."*