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February 13, 2015, 12:54 PM ET (This too is a part of 21st Century American History)
As you read this, OneWorld, Inc reminds you that James Craig Anderson was killed in 2011! There is no sense of satisfaction in writing, compiling, reading or posting these blogs. But we must remain vigilant, and we must be consistently aware; we must prepare our children so that they may remain safe as they traverse life and our often mean and dangerous streets every-where. As we reflect on the many outstanding accomplishments that black people have made, and the obstacles we have overcome, we must also constructively and steadfastly deal with the distance yet to go to achieve equity in our humanity and our rights as citizens of the USA.
In Jasper, Texas on June 9, 1998, James Byrd, a 49 year-old African American man was tied to the back of a pick-up truck and dragged several miles to his mangled death in Texas (USA). Three white men were charged with his murder: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/06/10/us/black-man-fatally-dragged-in-a...
Here's an astonishing speech by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, one of just two African-Americans to have ever served as federal judges in Mississippi. He read it to three young white men before sentencing them for the death of a 48-year-old black man named James Craig Anderson in a parking lot in Jackson, Miss., one night in 2011. They were part of a group that beat Anderson and then killed him by running over his body with a truck, yelling "white power" as they drove off.
The speech is long; Reeves asked the young men to sit down while he read it aloud in the courtroom. And it's breathtaking, in both the moral force of its arguments and the palpable sadness with which they are delivered. We have decided to publish the speech, which we got from the blog Breach of Peace, in its entirety below. A warning to readers: He uses the word "nigger" 11 times.
One of my former history professors, Dennis Mitchell, recently released a history book entitled, A New History of Mississippi. "Mississippi," he says, "is a place and a state of mind. The name evokes strong reactions from those who live here and from those who do not, but who think they know something about its people and their past." Because of its past, as described by Anthony Walton in his book, Mississippi: An American Journey, Mississippi "can be considered one of the most prominent scars on the map" of these United States. Walton goes on to explain that "there is something different about Mississippi; something almost unspeakably primal and vicious; something savage unleashed there that has yet to come to rest." To prove his point, he notes that, "[o]f the 40 martyrs whose names are inscribed in the national Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, AL, 19 were killed in Mississippi." "How was it," Walton asks, "that half who died did so in one state?" — my Mississippi, your Mississippi and our Mississippi.
Mississippi has expressed its savagery in a number of ways throughout its history — slavery being the cruelest example, but a close second being Mississippi's infatuation with lynchings. Lynchings were prevalent, prominent and participatory. A lynching was a public ritual — even carnival-like — within many states in our great nation. While other states engaged in these atrocities, those in the Deep South took a leadership role, especially that scar on the map of America — those 82 counties between the Tennessee line and the Gulf of Mexico and bordered by Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama.
Vivid accounts of brutal and terrifying lynchings in Mississippi are chronicled in various sources: Ralph Ginzburg's 100 Years of Lynching and Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, just to name two. But I note that today, the Equal Justice Initiative released Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror; apparently, it too is a must-read.
"They came ready to hurt. They used dangerous weapons; they targeted the weak; they recruited and encouraged others to join in the coordinated chaos; and they boasted about their shameful activity. This was a 2011 version of the nigger hunts."
"In Without Sanctuary, historian Leon Litwack writes that between 1882 and 1968 an estimated 4,742 blacks met their deaths at the hands of lynch mobs." We now know with certainty that many more blacks died at the hands of lynch mobs.
In the last six months of 2014, these are the young black men who have been killed in America by the police. These are only the ones that have made the news. There is no doubt that there are many more whose deaths have not made the national news. Again, these are young black men who have been killed by the police. There is a message here to the haters and the white power advocates; there is a message to those who still believe that black people are less than human. Rumain Brisbon, age 34; killed 12/2/14, was the father of twin girls; Tamir Rice, age 12, killed 11/22/14; Akai Gurley, age 28, killed 11/20/14; Kajieme Powell, 25, killed 8/19/14; Ezell Ford, 25, killed 8/12/14; Dante Parker, 36, killed 8/12/14; Michael Brown, 18, killed 8/9/14; John Crawford, 22, killed 8/5/14; Tyree Woodson, 38, killed 8/2/14; Eric Garner, 43, killed 7/17/14.
At this link you can see the many images of unarmed black men and women killed-- while in the custody of police-- between 1999 and 2014: http://gawker.com/unarmed-people-of-color-killed-by-police-1999-201...
OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement. We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light and are beneficial to many in our communities. Learn more about us at our web site: www.oneworldpi.org/ and visit our Civic Engagement section at: http://www.oneworldpi.org/civic_engagement/index.html We are about Civic Engagement & Public Good.
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