The Cost of Freedom!
The photo of this extremely strong survivor of slavery, Jim Crow, racism, poverty, injustice and no telling what else invoked some strong emotions inside of me. Read the caption below her photo.
She is the great Aunt of Emmitt Till and at 112 years old she had to endure the injustice and indignity of watching the kangaroo trial of two white men who in 1955 kidnapped, bludgeoned, shot and threw her 14 year old great nephew in the river for supposedly whistling at a white woman.
They were acquitted and Emmitt’s mother decided to have an open casket funeral for her son to show the world the brutality of racism. Even though I was only 3 years old at the time the images of his mutilated body has been etched in my psyche for life (google Emmitt Till to see the photos. Facebook wouldn’t permit me to post them because of their graphic effects).
I recounted my brother and my experience with racism in the Deep South a few years after Emmitt’s death in an excerpt my book “Grasping At The Wind” below:
“I remember, as a child, my family rode a train to
Birmingham, to visit my grandfather. He lived by some rail-
road tracks that separated east and west Birmingham. My brother and I loved to play on those tracks. One day, some white kids from the other side of the tracks started throwing rocks at us. We retaliated by throwing rocks back at them. We did not understand the rules of racism. Suddenly, my grandfather rushed us into the house. My brother and I did not understand the fuss until the adults chided us for throwing rocks at white children. Birmingham seethed with bigotry during this time, and our innocent childhood game could turn to death. This incident introduced me to the sinister, malevolent face of racism.
Emmitt Till, another lad from Chicago, allegedly flirted with a white woman in Money Mississippi, in 1955. For this violation, a mob mutilated, killed and threw him in the river. His mother showed pictures of his battered face to the world, choosing to give him an open casket funeral. That explained, and I later understood why the adults feared for our lives. We did not leave the house until our family returned to Chicago”.
Emmitt Till’s photo was my generations George Floyd experience.
I write this not to stir up hatred but for few reasons.
1.) To promote understanding, reconciliation and dialogue between the races. We can’t have honest dialogue without staring racism in the face and calling it what it is.
(2 Corinthians 5:18)
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him”.
2.) To bring healing to generational pain, mistrust, bitterness and anger in individuals still suffering from the sting of racism.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me,
for the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed”.
3.) To bring healing to America as a nation.
(2 Chronicles 7:14)
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land”.
We don’t live in the past but neither can we whitewash it in an attempt to eradicate it!