Tag Archives: Emmett Louis Till

Why White America has had Little Response to Mississippi Representative Karl Oliver’s Threat to Lead a Lynch Mob to Protect Confederate Statues

I guess that it is little more than a “Sign of the Times” that we are witnessing the appearance of a steady stream of elected officials displaying absolutely no consideration for constituents’ interests and viewpoints. The alluded to individuals uncloak themselves as white supremacists whenever contentious racial matters arise in the public sphere. It is unclear if the alluded to elected representatives are merely pandering to a rabble-rousing element of white racist voters upon whom their political power and relevancy rest; it is obvious that Mississippi State Representative Karl Oliver is afflicted by a toxic combination of a gross lack of impulse control and stupidity. In many ways, Oliver is Representative Democracies worst nightmare.

I am uncertain if I should call it ironic or revealing, however, the 46th District that elected the 54-year-old Karl Oliver is the location of the small town of Money. Just in case you are unaware of the historical significance of Money, Mississippi, it is the site that 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till was visiting when J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant seized him from his Uncle Moses Wright’s residence before torturing and then lynching him before submerging his bruised and battered body in the Tallahatchie River. Let us also not forget that it was a jury composed of most likely the grandparents of present day voters that elected the Koch brother supported Oliver to office that had in the words of the Milam and Bryant’s Defense Attorney “the courage to acquit” the accused of all charges after a few hours of deliberation.

The presence of a person like Karl Oliver among a civilized populace is a chilling proposal without his election to a political office. Consider for a moment that it is Representative Oliver, who after realizing that there is a powerful grassroots movement washing across the South and demanding the removal of monuments dedicated to rebellious Southern leaders, who offered his fellow statesmen the following draconian method of resistance.

“The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, “leadership” of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.”

Far too often, whites feign ignorance regarding the continuing existence of bigotry and racial bias in their midst. Oliver’s assertion that all of those that challenge “OUR HISTORY…should be LYNCHED!” reminds one of the intolerance and tyranny that led to not only Emmett Louis Till’s lynching, but also similar demonic deeds by white men in the centuries preceding Till’s arrival in the Magnolia state. The prevalence of such public utterances and private lamentations makes it tough for any reasonable person to give any credence to whites continuing denial of their countrymen’s bigotry.

Although I doubt that my words will have any impact on the good white folk of Mississippi, however, they need to understand that their election of a figure such as Karl Oliver should not only be a public embarrassment, but also a significant impetus for them to do more than a few seasons of soul searching. Trust me when I say that it would be more beneficial to them than it would to us.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

A MODERN DAY EMMETT LOUIS TILL?: THE LYNCHING OF KINGSTON FRAZIER

Although I doubt it, however, it is fully within the realm of possibility that my fiery reaction to the lynching of 6-year-old Kingston Frazier in Jackson, Mississippi, is due to my knowledge of Emmett Louis Till’s lynching. These horrific crimes have several obvious corollaries.

  • Both lynchings occurred in the state of Mississippi.
  • Both of the victims were African-American children.
  • A mere 200 miles separate the dastardly crime scenes.
  • Kingston and Emmett were both snatched from the bosom of protection that family provides by a sinister element.
  • The lynchers of both of these African-American males should be considered domestic terrorists as their evil deeds are focused on exterminating a particular American population.

Relatively speaking, Emmett Louis Till’s offenses of touching the hand of Carolyn Bryant and offering a simple “goodbye” as he exited a convenience store are executable offenses when compared to 6-year-old Kingston Frazier’s offense of sleeping in the backseat of his mother’s vehicle as it was stolen. Surveillance tapes indicate that in the few moments that Kingston’s mother entered a grocery store, some thief stole the car that 6-year-old Kingston Frazier, one day away from his first-grade graduation, was slumbering in.

Once these thieves realized that a child was asleep in the back of the vehicle, they hastily ditched the vehicle on a dead end road and prepared for a hasty exit. Unfortunately for all of America, these criminals made the damning decision that their best chance of making a ‘clean get away’ was to pump a bullet into the head of young Kingston Frazier who was hopefully still slumbering in the backseat.

As previously mentioned, this barbaric crime reverted my mind to the lynching of Emmett Louis Till; however, there is one significant difference between Emmett Louis Till’s lynching in Money, Mississippi, and Kingston Frazier’s lynching; those responsible for the latter’s death were not member of some white supremacist group, in fact, they were not white at all, Kingston Frazier’s executioners were young African-American males.

When I heard about this abominable crime, there was a part of me that needed to see those responsible for it. A brief search presented a short video of the three culprits: Dwan Diondro Wakefield (17), DeAllen Washington (17) and Byron McBride Jr. As I viewed the video clip, I was shocked that I did not recognize any of these men; meaning that I did not recognize their demeanor, their posture or movements as none of them reflected the dignity, class, and refinement of the generations of black men that socialized me regarding what it meant to be a black man in America.

Kingston Frazier’s lynching by three young African-American males validates W.E.B. Du Bois’ piercing insight of what those who adopt their oppressors perspective become. I am certain that many are questioning my repeated use of the word lynching regarding this crime and may feel that the characterization is unwarranted. I feel that such contestation is wrong-headed for several reasons. When one considers that the definition of lynching is the killing of a person by a group due to some alleged offense or crime, the murder of Kingston Frazier reaches that threshold as he was killed by several individuals for the most daunting and unavoidable crime of all, being young, black, and male in a land whose inhabitants, regardless of their race/ethnicity, have decided that such descriptors add up to worthlessness and irrelevancy. Put simply, a vast swath of the American citizenry, many of whom are black, have been socialized to believe that persons of African descent do not have the right to live. In his timeless classic The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois describes this infectious affliction when he observes that “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.”

There is no other reasonable explanation for the actions of Dwan Diondro Wakefield (17), DeAllen Washington (17) and Byron McBride Jr. than to accept the unavoidable reality that their mindset and perspective regarding fellow African-Americans closely mirrors that of white bigots raised inside a nation where both academic lessons and social customs contribute to a denigration of African-American males. Such reasoning is a sensible explanation that explains why African-American males commonly view, treat, and consider one another as mortal enemies worthy of an excruciating death.

If African-Americans were not afflicted with a psychosis that causes them to hate one another with a vile and insanely jealous hatred, the lynching of Kingston Frazier would lead to a mobilization resembling that which occurred in the wake of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant’s lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till. The fact that as a collective we will do nothing more than take a momentary pause and issue a cowardly non-specific prayer regarding this matter speaks volumes about how serious we are about protecting the many Kingston Frazier’s in our midst that must find someway to navigate around the myriad dangerous people and obstacles that threaten their future on a moment-by-moment basis.

We must relentlessly demand that Kingston Frazier’s lynchers face the sternest punishment possible. Failure to issue such a demand continues our worst tradition of providing a place of refugee for individuals whose destruction of both our community and black lives rivals that of white supremacist groups.

There should come a point where we love one another enough to decide that we have enough of this foolishness. It is time for black America to set standards and hold every segment of their society to those criteria. A major step in this endeavor, particularly in regards to preventing future black-on-black lynchings is to expel those who do not warrant the privilege of living in our midst from the bosom of protection that they have misused for far too long.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

A View from Within: A Young Black Male’s Unique Perspective on Being An Endangered Species

One of my weekly rituals is an uneventful visit to the neighborhood convenience store for a menagerie of miscellaneous items (gum, candy, sports drinks). However, my normal routine was interrupted one non-descript day when I felt a strangers gaze as I walked through the various aisles making my selections. I initially thought nothing of it; that is until I stood before a middle-eastern cashier who loudly accused me of attempting to steal from the store. If my puzzled expression did not convey my thoughts to the rude clerk, my involuntary verbal reaction of “Excuse me?” certainly did. At this moment, the middle-easterner vehemently reiterated his ridiculous accusation that I had hidden something in my pocket. This false accusation not only infuriated me, but also led to my blessing him in a language that you would never find in the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John; all over approximately 12 dollars’ worth of Gatorade, Snickers, and Trident gum. I completed my purchase and stormed out yelling obscenities the entire time and vowing to never spend another dime in that particular establishment.

I went home and shared my story with my father. Although he agreed that I had every right to be livid, he reprimanded me thoroughly for my reaction. His stern language flowed from both a place of love and the reality that young African-American men have been killed for much less. In my heart, I knew that he was correct; in hindsight, I realize that I was relatively fortunate to have not become another statistic.

In the aftermath of the shooting of Mike Brown, the choking death of Eric Garner, the recent hanging of Lennon Lacy in North Carolina, and Jordan Davis’s senseless murder, I find it illogical to hear many Michael BrownAmericans propagate that the nation is now in a post racial society. All indicators are pointing towards the contrary. Put simply, it appears to be open season on young African American men throughout the nation.

Since the first stolen Africans were brought to this continent in 1619, the assault, mutilation, and murder of my ancestors has been a staple of the American political diet. The alluded horrific attacks executed by slave masters, overseers, and marauding whites upon enslaved Africans occurred nearly a century after the Emancipation Proclamation. The young Chicagoan Emmett Louis Till was et2murdered for merely whistling at a white woman. More recently, Trayvon Martin was killed for no other reason than George Zimmerman suspecting the young man was up to no good. Martin’s crime of walking through a suburban neighborhood led to him being stalked, attacked, assaulted, and murdered as if he were a prized deer.

So, the question lain before us is a rather simple query of what has changed in regards to how the nation addresses African-American males during their nearly 400 year existence on the North American continent. I must answer ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

As a young African American male I deal with the normal range of emotions that my white contemporaries experience. However, there are many things I have to worry about that they simply do not. My father once told me that every morning he wakes up terrified of what might happen to me as I walk out the front door of our suburban home. My skin color forces me to strategize and ponder mundane things such as taking a leisurely jog through my neighborhood, I, as well as those that love me, fear that local whites may perceive my running through the neighborhood not as a desperate attempt to remain physically fit, rather as if I am fleeing the scene of a crime; one that I committed nonetheless. I have learned through experience that I cannot walk around my neighborhood late at night without being stopped and questioned by local law enforcement officers; I will not even mention my inability to don a ‘hoodie’ when the weather calls for it. The Trayvon Martin murder has made such clothing taboo for the wisest among us. Today’s aggressive form of policing Black males, regardless of geographical realities, means that my friends and I cannot walk in a large group without being viewed as thugs or hoodlums by members of preceding generations, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Yes, many Black people have brought into the paranoia that every African-American male, including their own offspring, should be looked at skeptically, if not feared.

I readily admit that there are some African American males that commit crimes. However, the majority of whites would be shocked to learn that these brothers are the exception, not the rule as the my niggavast majority of African American males are law-abiding, dutiful, educated, goal centered young people who pose no threat to anyone or anything beyond a pizza or video game console. However, the actions of a few, meaning both African-American male criminals and the irresponsible news outlets that have given a naïve public the impression that criminality runs through all of our hearts has infringed upon the rights of law-abiding citizens.

So I beg the nation, if you see a group of African-American males in the throes of enjoying relatively mundane activities such as walking down the street, playing loud rap music, or buying gum at a convenience store, rest assured that we are neither planning to nor in the midst of violating any laws that would pose an imminent threat to your life; so, please LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE. It has always been said that you should treat others the way that you wish to be treated, so if we are not harassing you as you go through your day, do us a favor and give us the same respect.

Alexander Goodwin

#ManhoodRaceCulture