Saturday, August 1, 2020


(This essay was first published on my IG account August 11, 2018. I am republishing it here, my current writing platform.)

We’ve known about the brutal 1955 lynching of #EmmettTill at the hands of two white men presumably defending the honor of a white woman (Carolyn Bryant) who at the time testified that Till whistled at her and grabbed her wrist to potentially rape her. The murderers were acquitted. And then in 2007 Bryant recanted her testimony. And said “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.” 50. Years. Later.

The author Timothy Tyson presents this history of America with a rich context of what it has been like in terms of race relations in America. It’s an essential read especially for anyone who scratches their head about the #blacklivesmatter movement and thinks that “In the beginning there was Black Lives Matter and angry black people.” No. In the beginning there was slavery. And ongoing brutality toward black people (the list is long) at the hands of white people. Efforts to suppress the black vote (which still goes on and why it’s important to get the vote out). Segregation. And round and round it goes.

We can pretend this history doesn’t exist and that players who kneel like #colinkaepernick deserve to be excluded from the @nfl . Or we can face this history and understand.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's criminal that I went to high school in Oklahoma City in the 1970s and was not taught about the Tulsa Massacre. I learned about it on the White Nonsense Roundup website at age 60, just last summer.
    I'm learning to paint during COVID isolation. While working on my first painting, "Jacob's Ladder," I came across the Wiki of Bernice Johnson Reagon, who used the power of song in the civil rights protests of the 1960s and whose life has been dedicated to preserving and enhancing black culture through a capella choral music. I find the stories of these songs (many from the time of slavery) inspiring. I wish that our nation, rather than feeling threatened by the strength of black culture in rising up against injustice, could find inspiration and appreciate those who contributed to our nation in the face of horrible injustice and mistreatment. Yes, black lives matter, and black lives are still climbing Jacob's ladder to justice.