While rummaging through old computer files today, I ran across this little “meme” I saved from the Internet last year on July 28, very close to one year ago this very week. It was making the rounds because of the raging debate about the removal of the Rebel Flag from public places. The flag above the Capitol Building in South Carolina had just been removed on July 21, after flying there for 54 years. Lots of people were unhappy about that choice, and frankly, many are still not only unhappy but angry about it. There is still a strong resistance in many parts of the South. And a wide-spread conviction in some quarters that any notion that there is a “problem” with displaying that flag is not legitimate.
Connected in my file with the cartoon was a little one-paragraph document that had notes I wrote to myself at the time, but never posted on Facebook or a blog. The thoughts expressed are even more applicable now than when I first jotted them down. I am going to share them here, and elaborate a bit on where this line of thought took me.
I’m going to first state something that some may find almost shocking, because the caption on that little cartoon may at first seem so heartfelt and wholesome and admirable:
The original thought in the caption is indeed true… but totally unrealistic. And, to be honest, not all that helpful.
Because neither you nor I can do anything inside anybody else’s heart! Let alone remove something from it.
What we can do is urge the removal of hateful symbols in the public areas of our land as a witness to the “hate-filled heart people” that we do not share their hatefulness and lack of empathy for others.
And we can urge the removal of such symbols as a tangible witness to the victims of hate that others really do care about their feelings. It is the “silent majority” in America (hopefully the non-hate-filled heart people are a majority!) who need to step forward and take a stand, if only symbolically for now.
Unfortunately, many tender-hearted people are totally oblivious to how much hate has been a part of the American past, and how much still remains in the hearts of too many other Americans. I know that just a couple of years ago, I was shocked to learn of the astonishing history of lynching in America. It was a facet of American history about which I was totally ignorant—and about which I believe a majority of Americans are also totally ignorant.
If you are unfamiliar with the topic, you can read about it in a series of articles on my Meet MythAmerica blog titled Terrorism on American Soil.
The bottom line of the story is this…mobs of hundreds, sometimes many thousands of people literally gleefully watched individuals (a great majority of them black Americans) be viciously tortured, sometimes over a period of hours, then hung or shot to death…or even burned alive…in public places including city squares across America in the lifetime of my own grandparents and parents. Not just in the “Deep South,” but also in northern and Midwest cities such as Duluth and Omaha.
The observers were not just males. Men brought their girlfriends, wives, and sometimes children to watch these horrific scenes.
Waco, Texas 1916
Dade County, Florida 1935
The crowds were not made up of just what might have been considered at the time “lower class rabble.” Average, “respectable citizens” of the cities and towns from all professions joined the crowds. Including, all too often, members—even leaders—of local law enforcement agencies. Sometimes schools were let out for the occasion, and sometimes railroads ran special excursion cars so that citizens from surrounding areas could attend these events. Some adults and children alike sifted through the ashes after such spectacles and took home “souvenirs” of bones and body parts. Professional photographers took photographs of the proceedings, including photos of onlookers posing with leering grins over the smoldering body of the victim.
They then printed these photos as postcards and sold them by the next day, so that folks could send them to friends and family to show that they were in attendance at the event—just as you might send someone a picture postcard to show you’d been to Disney World today!
“This is the barbecue we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it, your sone (sic) Joe.”
The charred torso is what was left, to be put on display, of a 17 year old young man named Jesse Washington, tortured, hung from a tree, and burned alive, in the front of the court house of Waco, Texas, in 1916.
Over 10,000 spectators, including city officials and police, gathered to watch the attack. There was a celebratory atmosphere at the event, and many children attended during their lunch hour. Members of the mob castrated Washington, cut off his fingers [to keep him from climbing the chain by which he was hanging], and hung him over a bonfire. He was repeatedly lowered and raised over the fire [alive] for about two hours. [Until the torture finally killed him.] After the fire was extinguished, his charred torso was dragged through the town and parts of his body were sold as souvenirs. A professional photographer took pictures as the event unfolded, providing rare imagery of a lynching in progress. The pictures were printed and sold as postcards in Waco. (Wiki:Jesse Washington)
Here’s what well-known journalist Bill Moyers had to say about the incident in an article on his website last year:
The victim’s name was Jesse Washington. The year was 1916. America would soon go to war in Europe “to make the world safe for democracy.” My father was twelve, my mother eight. I was born 18 years later, at a time, I would come to learn, when local white folks still talked about Washington’s execution as if it were only yesterday. This was not medieval Europe. Not the Inquisition. Not a heretic burned at the stake by some ecclesiastical authority in the Old World. This was Texas, and the white people in that photograph were farmers, laborers, shopkeepers, some of them respectable congregants from local churches in and around the growing town of Waco.
Yes, this was not in some dark era of the Inquisition in Europe centuries ago. Nor was it in some Evil Empire cities of the era of the Nazis. It was in my own beloved country, during an era when my own grandparents could have taken part in the “festivities.”
Bill Moyers’ article was written in reaction to the news reports and hideous video of the young pilot burned to death in a cage by Isis Terrorists in 2015. Just as I did, when I first heard of that horrific incident, Moyers immediately connected it in his mind to the events of 1916 in Waco, with which he had been familiar. His conclusion of the matter was this:
Jesse Washington was just one black man to die horribly at the hands of white death squads. Between 1882 and 1968 — 1968! — there were 4,743 recorded lynchings in the US. About a quarter of them were white people, many of whom had been killed for sympathizing with black folks. My father, who was born in 1904 near Paris, Texas, kept in a drawer that newspaper photograph from back when he was a boy of thousands of people gathered as if at a picnic to feast on the torture and hanging of a black man in the center of town. On a journey tracing our roots many years later, my father choked and grew silent as we stood near the spot where it had happened.Yes, it was hard to get back to sleep the night we heard the news of the Jordanian pilot’s horrendous end. ISIS be damned! I thought. But with the next breath I could only think that our own barbarians did not have to wait at any gate. They were insiders. Home grown. Godly. Our neighbors, friends, and kin. People like us.
I am convinced that it is naive to believe that the monstrous hate behind those scenes above just somehow “dissipated” in intervening years. With no tangible repentance and regret publicly expressed over the years by those who took part in such mayhem, I have no reason to believe that the hate died out, nor reason to believe that those folks didn’t pass the hate down to their children and grandchildren. You could easily see it rearing its head publicly again in some of the events of the Civil Rights Era of the 50s and 60s. It might have been on a bit smaller scale, and usually not done so publicly. But lynchings…indeed, with the participation or cover up of local law enforcement at times…was back in fashion among those with hate-filled hearts.
Emmett Till in Chicago at age 14 with his momma in 1955
Emmett Till in Chicago in his casket at age 14
Death: Mississippi, 1955
His crime: flirting with a white woman while on a visit to family in Mississippi.
He got a private lynching in the dark of night, evidently perpetrated by just two men, the woman’s husband and a friend. Three days later his body was found in a river, a cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed was, nose crushed, left eye and most of his teeth missing. His mother insisted on an open-casket funeral so the world could see what had been done to her son.
“The world” responded to the photos in the national papers with outrage. That lasted a few days. Then the world went back to minding its business, and the hate-filled heart people went back to theirs.
Two men were tried for the murder, but were declared innocent and went free. Two years later they confessed to the killing in an article published in LOOK magazine–but of course “double jeopardy” laws made it impossible to re-try them. “The world” was outraged at the circumstances for a few days, but then went back to minding its business. And the hate-filled heart people went back to theirs.
Terrorism and murders related to the Civil Rights movement were widespread in the Deep South throughout the 50s and 60s , with most perpetrators escaping any punishment. One of the most notorious cases:
Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner
Their crime: helping with voter registration
Goodman and Schwerner had traveled from New York, Chaney was from Meridian, Mississippi. The three were volunteers working for the “Freedom Summer” campaign to register voters.
The three men had been arrested following a traffic stop in Meridian for speeding, and released shortly thereafter. But as they left town in their car they were followed by law enforcement and others. Before leaving Neshoba County their car was pulled over, and all three were abducted, shot at close range, then transported to an earthen dam where they were buried. Members of the local White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office and the Philadelphia, Mississippi Police Department were involved in the incident. [Source]
When the bodies were finally found, 44 days later, it was obvious that Chaney, a black man, had been mercilessly beaten, and then all three shot and killed. An autopsy indicated Goodman had been still alive when buried.
Although the FBI identified 21 men involved with the lynching of the three young men (and was convinced many more had actually participated) , the state of Mississippi refused to prosecute them for murder, which was considered at the time a state crime. The US government couldn’t prosecute for murder, but charged 18 of the men with depriving the three of their civil rights (by murder…) They got a federal grand jury in Mississippi to issue indictments…but the area federal judge… an “ardent segregationist”…threw out the indictments. The Supreme court intervened, and ordered the judge to proceed with a trial.
Those found guilty on October 20, 1967, were Cecil Price [deputy sheriff], Klan Imperial Wizard Samuel Bowers, Alton Wayne Roberts, Jimmy Snowden, Billey Wayne Posey, Horace Barnett, and Jimmy Arledge. Sentences ranged from 3 to 10 years. After exhausting their appeals, the seven began serving their sentences in March 1970. None served more than six years. Sheriff Rainey was among those acquitted. Two of the defendants, E.G. Barnett, a candidate for sheriff, and Edgar Ray Killen, a local minister, had been strongly implicated in the murders by witnesses, but the jury came to a deadlock on their charges and the Federal prosecutor decided not to retry them. On May 7, 2000, the jury revealed that in the case of Killen, they deadlocked after a lone juror stated she “could never convict a preacher“. [Source]
It took almost forty years for the case to be opened again, through efforts of a journalist, a high school teacher, and a team of high school students who developed new evidence. In 2005, that “preacher,” Edgar Ray Killen, was found guilty of planning and directing the lynching. At 80 years old, he had to go to prison for the rest of his life. But of course, he had managed to enjoy 41 more years of freedom in life than the three young men had enjoyed.
Although lots of hate-filled heart people were busy with actual physical mayhem during that era, there were others who indulged their hate-filled hearts a bit less violently. But they still managed to make very clear just how little they had any interest in trying to empathize with those unlike themselves–and how dedicated they were to passing on their heritage of hate to their offspring.
I’m convinced that there is no rational reason to believe that the children in these pics below…who would be about my age now…somehow had their hearts changed overnight just because a Civil Rights law was passed in 1964.
Blessedly, some—hopefully many!—in those younger generations have been able to reject their “heritage of hate.” Some of the adults eventually found their hearts softened too, perhaps by being more exposed in positive ways to people of other races.
But there is strong evidence about in the land that far too many instead embraced their deeply-ingrained “heritage,” nurtured it, and hold on to it to this day. They just are forced by the laws of the land now to keep it under wraps more than their grandparents and great grandparents were.
If that silent majority I mentioned earlier does not speak up more, stand up more, advocate more openly and actively for compassion and love rather than hate and fear, I don’t know how much longer it will be before the hate-filled hearts are more emboldened to come out of their closets. As Bill Moyers wrote, we don’t need to wait for “barbarians at the gates.” Nor, I would add, wait for foreigners to use terroristic methods to intimidate American citizens.
There’s a lot of discussion in recent times of Isis-related “home grown terrorists,” American-born citizens right in the US who haven’t come from overseas, but who have become a threat to their own fellow-citizens because they have bought into the Isis culture of hate.
Moyers had the right word for the howling crowds who lusted for the thrill of causing and watching the torture of lynching victims… home grown barbarians. And, I would add, home grown terrorists. Every bit as much terrorists as the modern religious radicals of Isis. As a matter of fact, sociologists who have studied the history of US lynching, as well as many of the lynchmob leaders themselves of the past, have indicated that lynchings of blacks were never “only” about taking revenge for the specific alleged crime of the one lynched. It was every bit as much intended as a very blunt and public method of “terrorizing” all the other blacks in the area to “keep their place,” never get “uppity,” and accept white supremacy without question.
This was also the purpose of the acts of terrorism during the Civil Rights era, such as the brutal killings in 1964 of the three young men whose only “crime” was attempting to register voters. The murders weren’t just to stop those three individuals from doing their work. The brutal acts were designed to terrorize blacks and keep them from attempting to register, and terrorize any whites or blacks inclined to help in the future in the voting rights efforts.
But surely, some seem to feel, isn’t all that is just “water under the bridge,” circumstances that ended long ago? Like in the late 60s. Or maybe 70s? Or maybe 80s? Or…
Just one day last week, in Floyd County, Georgia (I lived in Rome, Georgia, the Floyd County Seat, for several years until moving away in 2013) people went out to their driveways and found THESE in baggies that had been tossed there overnight.
Yes, it is a recruitment flyer for the KKK. Please take time to look closely at the words of their “urgent” appeal on that bullet list above. Note especially that they are “Christian based and uphold the Bible.”
The flyers were distributed by a group with HQ in Pelham, North Carolina. It had taken part in an April “neoNazi rally” in downtown Rome.
And while the flyers are ostensibly to recruit members, they weren’t just targeted to white residents of the county. Black residents woke up that morning to find their own copies in their own driveways…obviously intended to intimidate and terrify them if possible. Newspaper interviews with local black citizens make it clear that they were successful in causing anxiety and distress to many.
Another item hit the national news this very same week that also reflects modern efforts to intimidate and terrify black Americans.
A former University of Mississippi student was sentenced Thursday to a year’s probation plus 50 hours of community service for placing a noose on the statue of the school’s first black student.
U.S. District Judge Mike Mills sentenced Austin Reed Edenfield, 21, of the Atlanta suburb of Kennesaw, Georgia, and ordered Edenfield to obtain substance abuse and mental health treatment, multiple news outlets reported.
Edenfield pleaded guilty in March to one count of using a threat of force to intimidate African-American students and employees by putting a noose on the James Meredith statue. He had faced up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Who was James Meredith, why did he have a statue on the Mississippi campus, and why would someone put a “noose” on it?
James Meredith was an important part of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. At almost 30 years old, he was an 8-year Air Force veteran, with a good academic record in the two years he had spent at a segregated college in Mississippi. He decided he wanted to finish his degree at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, and put in an application for enrollment there in 1960. The segregationist officials of the University, as well as the Mississippi governor Ross Barnett, adamantly rejected his attempts.
And students and others in the area adamantly protested as well, including “hanging in effigy” Mr. Meredith… beneath a Rebel Flag.
After legal wrangling which made it all the way to the Supreme Court, the state was officially ordered on September 29, 1962, by President Kennedy to admit Meredith.
On the evening of September 29, after State Senator George Yarbrough withdrew the State Highway Police, a riot broke out. Whites opposing integration had been gathering at the campus. Despite the Kennedy administration’s reluctance to use force, it ordered the nationalized Mississippi National Guard and federal troops to the campus. In the violent clashes which followed, two men were killed by gunshot wounds, and the white mob burned cars, pelted federal marshals with rocks, bricks and small arms fire, and damaged university property. [All this to protest the very thought of having to sit next to a black man in a college class.]
The troops put down the riot, and Meredith enrolled and began classes on October 1. He endured very unpleasant harassment from then until he graduated in August 1963. (Including that from students who indulged in such petty actions as bouncing basketballs on the floor just above his dormitory room at all hours of the night.)
In 1966 he organized a personal march for Civil Rights (separate from other such marches that were being organized by Martin Luther King and others), from Memphis, TN, to Jackson, MS. He was joined at the beginning by a few other black men. On the second day of the march, he was shot and wounded multiple times by a sniper.
He recovered and finished the march a few days later, which had been eventually joined by 15,000 marchers by the time it reached Jackson.
At that time in history, James Meredith was viewed by many Mississippians, including those connected with the University of Mississippi, as a threat to their Southern Heritage, and was greatly resented. Although that resentment was never totally erased, much progress had been made at the institution by the end of the century. 13% of the student body is now African-American, and a civil rights monument that features a life-size bronze statue of Meredith was dedicated on the campus in 2006.
It is that statue which featured a noose around its neck, and an old Georgia flag, (that includes the symbol of the infamous “Confederate Battle Flag”) draped over its face one morning in February 2014. A grim repetition of that photo above that included a representation of Meredith, a noose, and a Rebel flag.
The young fellow sentenced this past week to probation and community service got off lighter than his companion, who hatched the plot back in 2014. He was sentenced in September 2015:
A former University of Mississippi student who admitted helping place a noose on a statue of a civil rights activist is going to prison.
U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills sentenced Graeme Phillip Harris on Thursday to six months in prison beginning Jan. 4, followed by 12 months’ supervised release.
rris pleaded guilty in June to a misdemeanor charge of using a threat of force to intimidate African-American students and employees, and prosecutors agreed to drop a felony charge. [Source]
Harris had an excuse, of course. It was the bad influence of his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon (SPE).
He [Harris’s lawyer Davis Hill] said incoming pledges [the term that identifies potential fraternity members] were taught to keep alive grudges over Ole Miss’ purge of Confederate symbolism such as the Colonel Reb mascot and the display of Confederate battle flags at sporting events.
“Blatant racism was not only OK, it was expected,” Hill wrote of the fraternity.
It’s difficult to conceive of that darker side to the SPE fraternity when you glance down the list on Wikidpedia of some of its “notable alumni.” Some excerpts: Actors Joe Don Baker, John Goodman, Carroll O’Connor (“Archie Bunker”); Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel); Admiral Elmo Zumwalt; and lots of politicians including former Governors John Engler of Michigan and John Love of Colorado.
Unfortunately, at least in recent decades, there is no doubt that this national fraternity has quite the reputation not for just racism, but actual physical crimes and violence. Chapters throughout the country have been suspended numerous times in recent years over allegations of cocaine and other drug use, rapes, vicious and dangerous “hazing” incidents involving new members, and more.
In 2013, the fraternity was suspended for two years at Southern Methodist University after torturing a Hispanic fraternity member of Lambda Chi Alpha for four hours. Four Sigma Phi Epsilon members were arrested and charged with assault for kicking, punching, spraying Formula 409 on wounds and cuts, making racist comments, and holding the Lambda Chi Alpha member captive against his will.
… In 2007, four members of the fraternity were arrested from Florida State University for hazing when the police found 31 pledges shivering in 30 degree weather and covered in raw eggs, catfish-stink bait, flour and vinegar, and their bodies were red with welts. [Source]
The term “hate-filled hearts” seems justifiable here.
Just WHERE did these young men “pick up” their disdainful racial attitudes and their propensity for violence?
And likewise, where did these well-off young men from another national fraternity that made the news last year get their attitudes?
The national headquarters for Sigma Alpha Epsilon [SAE] is closing its chapter at the University of Oklahoma after video surfaced Sunday of members on a bus singing racist lyrics about their fraternity. SAE’s national office called the video “inappropriate” and said it was “disgusted” by its members behavior.
“In addition, all of the members have been suspended, and those members who are responsible for the incident may have their membership privileges revoked permanently,” the national SAE office said in its statement.
Prior to SAE’s announcement, University of Oklahoma President David Boren said if they determine it is in fact their chapter of SAE, the fraternity would be removed from campus.
The nine-second video, uploaded by an anonymous user on YouTube, shows a group of college students in formal attire clapping while they sing racist lyrics to the tune of “If You’re Happy And You Know It” during a date function. The lyrics as heard in the video are:
“There will never be a n***** in SAE.
There will never be a n***** in SAE.
You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me [get me to sponsor him for membership]
There will never be a n***** in SAE.” [Source]
Notice that this activity was not committed by a bunch of financially disadvantaged rowdy, “good ol’ boy” high school lads from the rural south. Nor did it happen fifty years ago in the heat of the anger among staunch segregationists over the Civil Rights movement. The perpetrators are 21st century Millennials, privileged young men, members of a very prestigious (at least in Southern circles) college fraternity.
SAE was founded in 1858 at the University of Alabama, and thus has had a long, illustrious history, including membership by many famous names. A tiny sample from the past and present: author William Faulkner; 1920s/30s crooner Rudy Vallee; Righteous Brothers singer Bobby Hatfield; actors Lloyd Bridges, Beau Bridges, Robert Young, and Sam Elliot; broadcasters Ernie Harwell and Chet Huntley; Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens; Ross Perot, Jr.; lots of senators, congressmen, governors, and other politicians… including President William McKinley.
The national HQ of the fraternity tried to distance itself from what it characterized as a “local problem” of that one chapter. Except then this came out…
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon members who were caught on video singing a racist song learned the offensive lyrics at a national fraternity leadership cruise four years ago, the University of Oklahoma revealed Friday.
In a document obtained by The Huffington Post, the university concluded that the students learned the song on a cruise organized by the national SAE office four years ago. Fraternity members brought the racist song back to the OU chapter, the university’s investigation found, and over time, it was “taught to pledges as part of the formal and informal pledge process.” The document said that the song was widely known and became part of the “institutionalized culture of the chapter.” [Source]
And informal testimony by fraternity members across the land have indicated that it was not at all confined to that one local chapter.
Is it just possible that the young men on that bus were merely reflecting a “heritage” of both racism and a high tolerance for violence that has mostly moved “behind closed doors” in recent decades in its most overt form, but still exists?
This article seems to provide some evidence in that direction…
There’s nothing quaint about the nicknames SAE has these days—on many campuses people say the initials stand for “sexual assault expected” or “same assholes everywhere.” The fraternity is also known as the one in which members are most likely to die. [From hazing incidents in particular, just like those in the SPE.]
… Despite the fact that its members agree to memorize and follow a creed known as the True Gentleman, SAE has frequently been accused of racist and discriminatory behavior over the years. Now the largest fraternity in the country, SAE seems to have played a disproportionate role in some of the most offensive incidents in recent decades, yet it remains a house in good standing at more than 200 campuses.
In 1982, the University of Cincinnati suspended its Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter after it organized a racist party around Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. According to an article in the New York Times, fliers for the event encouraged revelers to “bring such things as a canceled welfare check, ‘your father if you know who he is’ and ‘a radio bigger than your head.’ ”
… In 1992, the Texas A&M University chapter hosted a “jungle fever”–themed party that, according to an online exhibit created by the university’s Cushing Library, featured “black face, grass skirts and ‘slave hunts.’ ”
…Last year, 15 SAE members at the University of Arizona broke into a historically Jewish off-campus fraternity and physically assaulted its members while yelling discriminatory comments at them.
The SAE fraternity, the SPE fraternity… and by many accounts, most other fraternities across the land… all have some sort of “code of honor” they are supposed to be following to stay in good standing.
SPE’s “founding principles” are Virtue, Diligence, and Brotherly Love. Yeah. Right.
SAE has a creed titled “The True Gentleman” which every prospective member is required to memorize and recite. Great. But I guess it is only prospective members that need to know any of that stuff. Full-fledged members can toss it in the trash the day after they are accepted into membership. For there is nothing of “The True Gentleman” in the descriptions of the reputation of SPE. Just lots of evidence of hate-filled hearts.
I share all of the above to ultimately say this:
Our current wrenching problems related to race relations in America have not “spontaneously generated” in just the past few years. They are the end results of aspects of our history, such as the culture of lynching, about which most Americans are abysmally ignorant. I don’t say that lightly nor disparagingly. I fully admit that until about five years ago, I was equally abysmally ignorant of the historical roots of much of the current dysfunction in our society. I have been trying hard to make up that deficit since then through historical research. And I share what I have learned (and continue to learn daily!) in my blogs (and now on Youtube in documentary videos) with whoever will listen. (I invite you to explore many aspects of this forgotten history with me on my Meet MythAmerica blog.)
Without the understanding of how we got where we are, it’s going to be nigh unto impossible to make the necessary changes to get to that “Great America” that so many are clamoring for. For so many think the way to have a Great American Future is to somehow return to…or figure out how to reconstruct…what they are convinced was a glorious, Great American past. The past of our parents and grandparents and great grandparents.
NO THANK YOU.
Between 1920 and 1938, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) flew a flag from the window of its Fifth Avenue headquarters in New York City when a lynching took place. It stated, simply, starkly: “A man was lynched yesterday.” The flag demanded that the people of Manhattan, however far they were from the American south, bear some form of witness to the racist murders taking place in their nation. [Source]
Washington DC, 1925 “Anti-Immigrant March”
Washington DC, 1925 “Anti-Immigrant March”
Washington DC, 1925 “Anti-Immigrant Protest”
“No mosquitoes…No Negroes”
Undocumented lynching of a man and two women. No other details available.
1911 Oklahoma Lynch mob posing above the bodies of a woman and her son hanging from the bridge.
I have no desire to return to or imitate or reconstruct a society that widely tolerated and even positively promoted at times the kind of activity, conditions, and circumstances you see in all the photos I have shared above. It’s time to let go of the illusions of that past, be grateful for whatever good there was in it (and indeed, there was no doubt much good at times, and many good-hearted people), but face the reality that it is not an admirable “model” for the future we want for our children and grandchildren.
It was a great environment for the hate-filled heart people. I want to be part of creating a future Great America where such folks will feel so uncomfortable, where they will be surrounded by such compassion and love and “justice for all”…that maybe their hearts WILL be changed!