Hatred in a young heart

I came of age in Mississippi during the civil rights movement – a witness to history. A lasting impression from those days as a young woman right out of high school is that the rest of the nation seemed to deny that racisim existed beyond the borders of my home state.

I could relate numerous brushes with the stories which have seeped into our conciousness. Here are a few:

• Assisting writer William Bradford Huie with an article he wrote for Cavalier magazine about Mack Charles Parker, who was lynched on my birthday the year before I graduated from high school.

• Witnessing a carload of neighbors head out for Ole Miss to “do something about” James Meredith’s entry there and marrying a man who was marshaled to quell the violence as a member of the Mississippi National Guard.

• Having an extended family member who was friends with Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price, one of those linked to the slayings of Schwerner, Goodman and Cheney.

• Working in downtown Jackson, Mississippi, when “Thompson’s Tank” (Mayor Allen C. Thompson) was hauling newly arrived “Freedom Riders” off to an improvised jail at the state fairgrounds.

• Being sent home by my bosses because a sit-in at the nearby Woolworth’s lunch counter threatened to erupt into violence – then seeing them both appear in a photo of the incident in Life magazine.

• Reading a daily newspaper where the editor, Jimmy Ward, used the word “nigger” in front-page editorials.

• Being emotionally devastated when the grandmother of a four-year-old relative proudly showed me the little boy’s photo in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

Today, at age 69, I am privy to the fact that racism, however subtle, still exists and perhaps always will. I am thankful I learned to abhor it.

This is the story of what such prejucice can do to a young and impressionable mind.

CNN’s investigative team takes an in-depth look at the “backpack of hatred” carried by the Brandon, Mississippi, teenager who is accused of murdering a black man, because he was black.

“Teen murder suspect carried ‘backpack of hatred’” is hard to take and even carries an editor’s warning that the report contains language which might offend some readers. READ IT HERE.

This well-researched and well-written report is followed up tonight with "Mississippi Still Burning?" on CNN Presents, at 8 and 11 ET.


Leslie Parsley said...

WOW! There's so much here, including your own personal history. We certainly had our problems here in TN but nothing compared to what happened in MS. I'm so thankful that at least one-half of my family believed in equality!

The CNN story is outstanding. I find these passages almost as criminal as the crime itself:

"But police and school officials told CNN that there were no warning signs, no concerns about Dedmon or his friends before James Anderson's death this summer. Brandon's Assistant Police Chief Chris Butts described Anderson's killing as "an isolated incident" that has been blown out of proportion by the media."

"In Brandon, where most of the teens live, the reaction has been mostly silence. There, police officials and some residents say it was an isolated incident, and that racial hatred is not a problem there."

Dedmon was on probation at the time of the murder for Pete's sake. Sick, sick, sick.

Frodo, watchin' his step said...

Not long ago Frodo was exhibiting some of his artifacts from the "Poor Peoples Campaaign," and the "March on Washington." Frodo's intent was to make his point that so very much has been accomplished in the span of Frodo's lifetime. His friend, a black woman almost of Frodo's age, raised her head and said "Not much has changed, has it, Mr. Frodo?"

Beauty it seems, is not all that is in the eye of the beholder.

Tiny brushing away tears again said...

Hatred is a learned behavior, that can be unlearned if one so chooses. Unfortunately, a great number of people do not choose to do so. They prefer to believe they are superior to others.

Tiny agrees with Frodo, "Beauty is not all that is in the eye of the beholder." Too many turn a blind eye to evil deeds.

Tiny would add: Neither is love in the heart of all people. Hatred is an epidemic in the world that needs to be eradicted, as shown on the CNN story this evening.