On Saturday, Melissa Harris Perry used her weekly “letter” to address out-going North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue.

Her request? Pardon the Wilmington 10 — nine men and a woman who in 1972 were convicted of arson in a case that many saw as government overreach against civil rights activists.

From the MHP Show blog:

Gov. Perdue, it is time to pardon the Wilmington Ten.

As you know, in 1972, nine young African-American men and one white woman were wrongly convicted of firebombing a Wilmington grocery store during civil rights protests. Most of the Wilmington Ten were just teenagers at the time. But despite shaky evidence, the young musicians, students and activists were sentenced to a total of 282 years in prison.

Gov. Perdue you once stated that “there’s nobody in America…who could say that trial was fair or that there wasn’t some kind of undercurrent or overt racism involved in the jury selection.”

Indeed, it was so overt that by 1977, at least three witnesses had recanted their testimony. And in 1980, the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the convictions of the Wilmington Ten–noting that the chief witness lied on the stand and that prosecutors concealed evidence.

Read the whole letter here.