The Day After a Lynching

I wonder if what I am feeling is what my ancestors felt the day after a lynching.

I am surprised at how deep is my pain over the execution of Troy Davis. I have read plenty about miscarriages of justice toward black people in the South, how judges and courts and juries, without shame, put black people, too many of them innocent to death.

I have read the stories about how too many times, law officials stood aside and let injustice occur, often over a lie about a black person told by some white person, oftentimes a white woman. Just their word was enough to condemn a black person to death.

I have read about how sometimes, mobs would raid jail houses and take accused black people out of jail and lynch them. At least one of the stories I read told of how a mob lynched a black man right outside the jail and courthouse.

I have read of how black people were lynched and white people came to the event, like it was entertainment, bringing lunches and children, taking pictures, and having a grand old time while a human being, who happened to be black, was hung.

I have read the story of Emmett Till, how this young boy from Chicago, was lynched because he reportedly whistled at a white woman. I read the story about the horror of Rosewood, a town demolished because of a white woman’s lies.

I have read much, but not until yesterday did I viscerally feel what our ancestors must have felt the day after a lynching.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why our sophisticated justice system could not have found a way to hear Troy Davis’ case again, to remove the mound of doubt surrounding his case. I cannot figure out why someone didn’t risk his or her life or job to save a perhaps innocent person. What harm would it have done?

I cannot stop weeping. Every time I think of what our country did last night, it makes raw my knowing what our country has done throughout history, allowing innocent black people to be lynched.

I learned, in studying lynching, that it wasn’t just “hanging” that was considered to be lynching. It was any form of unjust murder -a beating, drowning, burning – whatever – of a person.

That’s what happened last night, or at least that’s what my gut and spirit are telling me.

This I know: we cannot stop trying to find out the truth about what happened the night that the off duty police officer was killed. Surely, we cannot stop. There are people all over the world, white, black and brown, who are disturbed about what happened last night in Georgia.

But I, for one, am wrestling. Maybe I was supposed to not only intellectually know what lynching was, but what it must have felt the day after a lynching …because this is painful beyond belief. If we cannot believe in and trust our justice system, what do “we the people,” who are not white and wealthy, really have?

It is a sobering and disturbing question, and it is a candid observation.

6 thoughts on “The Day After a Lynching

  1. Thanks for your thoughts – and your willingness to share your obviously very deep feelings. I almost cannot even get to my feelings. I am sick. Literally. The country, the lynching, the justice system, the racism… I just don’t get it – and I don’t want it to be as it is. 🙂

  2. The thing that I cannot get over is that they heard about it — this isn’t a case where his case and the facts didn’t make it up the ladder. Our Supreme Court had the opportunity to stay his execution, but actually decided not to act. Where is the commitment to justice? To truth? The fact that seven witnesses recanted their testimony wasn’t enough to give Troy Davis, a human being, another chance is sickening. Literally. I’ve always opposed the death penalty, and my prayer is that this case will help turn the tide against this barbaric and unjust practice.

    1. I know. This whole thing has gotten stuck in my throat. It has done something to me, I’m not quite sure what.
      Thank you for commenting and for subscribing to the blog!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s