Tag Archives: mississippi

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

Proclamations, Commemorations and a Rogue [State] of Mind

Governor Phil Bryant’s signed proclamation which declares

April “Confederate Heritage Month” and April 25, 2016

“Confederate Memorial Day” has stirred much controversy in

the Magnolia State. Tantamount to drawing a line of demarcation in

the sand between pro-Confederate heritage supporters and those

who msflagbelieve embracing this heritage is toxic to promoting unity, the

questions of how did we get here and where do we go from here

arise?

The movement to preserve the tarnished regional identity of the

American South is rooted in the production of Post-Civil War

celebrations, literature and academic organizations associated

with branding a chivalrous and nobler history around the

Confederate defeat known in academic circles as the “Lost

Cause.” As noted scholar Dr. Charles Reagan Wilson revealed, a

“civic religion” developed around the Confederate defeat. The

legacy of this propaganda campaign had far reaching social,

economic and political implications which still affect the

mindset of southerners and shapes the South’s regional identity,

particularly in Mississippi.

From a historical perspective, and in all honesty, one would be

deranged to say pro-Confederate factions throughout the South,

or for that matter in Mississippi, “lost.” As it is clearly

documented throughout the historical record, the South was

redeemed- ushering in a new age in which sharecropping

replaced slavery, black codes replaced slave codes and black

political participation by 1880 was near to non-existent in

Mississippi. Coupled with the profound impacts of racial

segregation, extreme violence against blacks and various forms

of economic discrimination, the South, and particularly

Mississippi, was returned to a social state resembling its former

antebellum glory. Consequently, interconnected with the

proclamation for celebrating Confederate heritage is reaffirming

the “redemption of the South” and the preeminence of white

supremacy.

On the one hand, critics of this idea may counter by arguing for

all Mississippians to take notice of the progress that has been

made over the past half century in civil rights, educational and

economic gains. On the other hand, a thorough assessment of the

socio-economic status of black Mississippians reveals African

Americans are incarcerated at a disproportionate rate and rank

the lowest in educational attainment in the state. Equally, I

would be remiss not to mention the myriad of health and

economic disparities which abound. Unequivocally, there is a

tangible impact on all Mississippians, both black and white,

when we hold dear to the divisive aspects of our problematic

past.

As a life long historian and educator, I am a proponent of

reading about, reflecting on and commemorating the past.

However, the ambiguity that surrounds “remembering” in

Mississippi involves one deciphering the murky confluence of

racial interests and ideas regarding how native Mississippians

formulate their shared connections to the past. Invariably, until

we all gain some true sensibilities about our socially

disconcerting past and focus on the unifying aspects separately

from the divisive features, we will always be lost in its racial

labyrinth.

flagmiss

In the bigger scheme of things, the phrase “We the People”

recorded in the preamble of the United States Constitution has to

have meaning as it relates to the common constructive history

and experiences of all Mississippians which is undoubtedly,

contrary to the beliefs of some individuals, an integral part of the

United States of America. Hence, the larger challenge and

looming question is when are Mississippians going to stop living

in the past and whole heartedly re-join the United States of

America?

Charles Reagan Wilson, Baptized in the Blood: the Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865- 1920, 2nd Edition, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009.

Dr. Marco Robinson

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016