A story of white man’s justice as regards blacks in 1897.
The event took place in Key West. Representative of justice at the time for people of color throughout the South.
It was June 1897. Sylvanus Johnson resided in Key West. An African-American. A United States citizen. Johnson was accused of raping a white woman.
He was brought to trial immediately. The rape charge a capital crime. Death the expected sentence, if convicted.
Johnson was assigned counsel. He could not afford one on his own. A kangaroo court and an all white jury decided his fate. The judge a good old boy. He would not permit Johnson’s attorney to cross examine witnesses.
A lynch mob formed during the trial. Daytime outside the court house. Night time, outside the jail. The mob wanted white man’s justice immediately. Hang him!
Blacks formed outside the court house by day and jail by night to protect Johnson.
The Sheriff panicked. Stood his ground, but knew he needed help to keep Johnson safe from the lynch mob. Asked the Governor for assistance. The Governor viewed the situation as a black insurrection. He immediately asked President McKinley for federal troops. McKinley considered the matter not worthy of assistance.
A local reporter described the African-Americans as a “tough negro element.” Portrayed them as troublemakers.
Johnson was convicted. Took the jury one hour forty minutes.
When the verdict was announced, Johnson turned to the jury and said, “If God was black and came before this jury you would find him guilty. You may take my black body, but you cannot harm my innocent soul.”
Johnson was hung within a matter of days.
There is a reason why I recall the Johnson story. It has to do with Irma and retrospectively Katrina.
African-Americans have come a long way since Johnson’s days. Not far enough, however. They have equality in name. Not in fact.
FEMA had tents erected in the public parking area behind the Key West fire station on Simonton. A place for people to seek and receive governmental assistance. I noted the people applying were all persons of color. Tan. Blacks, Cubans, etc. No whites.
Saturday evening, I drove down Duval. Somewhere in the middle of Duval was a FEMA truck. It was handing out food packages. All the people waiting for the packages were black. No tans, no whites.
Katrina had similarities. Blacks ended up in the huge sports arena. Nary a white.
My point is African-Americans and other persons of color have come a long way since 1897. Not enough, however. Equality and opportunity not yet fully theirs.
How much longer must these people wait?
Understand what I have written here and you will understand why we continue to have turmoil in the streets involving blacks and whites.
There was a concert in Mallory Square over the weekend. A locals event. To celebrate survival and exhibit the community will come back. A huge crowd in attendance whooping it up in Key West fashion.
My yesterday quiet. Worked with Sloan in the morning. Under the weather the rest of the day. Heavy sweating and a runny nose. Stayed in bed. This morning, I feel fine.
Comcast has finally completed its responsibilities. Late last night, I got back wi-fi and hard line.
Like being reborn! Computer, wi-fi and hard line all at one time!
Consistent with most positions he takes, Trump is totally off base as regards the NFL. He fails to realize that freedom of speech includes spitting, urinating, defecating, burning, and dragging through he dirt the American flag. Constitutionally guaranteed free speech.
The United States has survived over 200 years recognizing the right.
Trump understands neither the history of this country or the Constitution. He prefers standing before a huge American flag Patton style denouncing the NFL and its players. Shouting words he is most famous for…..You’re fired!
I feel good this blog has returned to normalcy. Irma is behind us, except for recovery.
Tonight Louis will be at Aqua for Dueling Bartenders. I suspect many others will also.
Enjoy your day!