My personal experience during that trial was really weird. I worked at an R&D Lab in Atlanta for a big company. It was a high stress, high stakes work environment. I was about 25 years old and brand new to the world of engineering.
My boss was a successful black man, not only in the white world of engineering, but in the black world of R&B music production - he produced the shows for one of the top names in R&B.
I was young and he trained me to understand radio frequency engineering. He was a mentor to me. I worked pretty much exclusively with him for over a year before I started working on other projects at that company, still under his supervision.
He was a flashy dresser - always had really nice suits with his ties in a full-Windsor knot that was somehow in a very very tight point at the bottom. He's the only man I've ever known who could carry off a lot of gold and diamond jewelry. He was a very good looking man who was very into looks; his wife was beautiful and his daughter was a model. He drove a BMW.
In some ways, he was like OJ in that he had climbed out of a really impoverished background to be so financially and socially successful. He'd been a football player in college and then fought in the first Gulf War as an Army grunt.
I was with him when the verdict came down. We were in the cafeteria of our work. He was so angry about the verdict. I think it represented everything he was trying to leave behind by proving he could succeed. I know a lot of black people saw it as a victory, but I am sure he felt it was a set back.