SYLVANUS JOHNSON…..AFRICAN AMERICAN TREATMENT YESTERDAY AND TODAY

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.

A confrontation.

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!

24 comments on “SYLVANUS JOHNSON…..AFRICAN AMERICAN TREATMENT YESTERDAY AND TODAY

  1. I’ll agree to disagree with you on the NFL EMPLOYEES demonstrating their right to free speech while on the job AND on foreign soil in the case of the Ravens/Jax game yesterday in London. And in another game on domestic soil, all but one player (a member of the military, BTW) refused to come out of the locker room until after the national anthem was played. It’s my understanding that was in direct violation of the NFL’S (the employer) rules and policy. I was embarrassed by the actions of some players and at least one former player dishonoring our flag and national anthem in the country from which citizens of this country fought against and gave their lives for our independence from the Queen’s rule. Just sayin’.

  2. Maybe so – but we can’t be proud of our nation’s exalted ‘right’ as to free speech, and lecture other countries on the subject, then publicly suppress it when some of us feel it ’embarrassing’ when it suits us. This is a difficult subject to come to grips with, but we should try and do so, and not be caught up in so called “patriotism” when convenient. It would be just as easy (and maybe just as wrong?) to say you are, as an American, proud of what they did in London, something no Russian (or others) would ever be allowed to do, without consequence.

  3. The Anthem was not played until 2009. So maybe its time to stop playing it. It bothers me that some want to disrespect the country in which they have been able to succeed and earn millions doing it.

    • Disrespect is ‘one’ way to look at it, another would be as a protest – a peaceful protest, in this case, I might add – unlike the Boston Tea Party in 1773, which I believe was something also embarrassing to many Americans, at the time.

  4. A sports game should be politically and personally neutral. It is not a place for such disrespect or protest. If team players feel that need, take it outside.

    • Who says a sports game should be politically and personally neutral – YOU?

      It’s OK with me (at least) if you say that’s the way YOU ‘want’ it, OK, but beyond that, it doesn’t make it so. Using a national anthem a sports game, is just the first proof that a sports game is NOT politically neutral. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that sporting events NOT have a national anthem (flags, flag parches, armbands, etc.), it’s just the YOU aren’t the authority on weather a sports game is political or not – wanting it so is not the way it is. You just can’t have it both ways.

      Maybe we shouldn’t be making political statements at any sports game (like a national anthem), then there wouldn’t have a perfectly reasonable (or otherwise) protest on that subject (at least).

      BTW – no political advertisements, associated with any sports event could also improve things, but let’s be realistic and reasonable. I’d prefer sports events also not be religious, but let’s be reasonable, that won’t happen either.

      Let’s stop clutching at our hankies, get off our high horses and have a reasonable response. That should start with asking our president to stop calling our sports heroes “Sons of Bitches” at national events because he disagrees with what they are saying and how they are saying it, particularly when it’s being done peacefully.

  5. Kapernick started this because of the exoneration of a white police officer shooting a black perp and the overall treatment of blacks in this country.
    If you want to go and watch that, fine, have at it. Just because its done peacefully doesn’t mean its the right place for it. The way its going it may not be peaceful for long.

  6. I find myself agreeing with you that this issue is likely to not remain peaceful and add that this often happens in my neighborhood when someone calls someone else a “son of a bitch” in public (let alone on national television). Often it’s the divisive rhetoric that causes the violence, not the original action.

    I would also like to add that I am once again aghast where it seems to me it is those persons most insistent about getting government out of regulating anything, to be the first at demanding the government be there to limit or regulate things they don’t like.

    Isn’t free speech at the top of just about any list of things worth defending? I’d be willing to fight for that!

    • Totally agree Michael, the hypocrisy is sickening. Heaven forbid you require even one sane and sensible regulation on a GUN! Second Amendment rights and all. Anything with a heartbeat has a right to a rocket launcher. No guvment regulation!

      But, when it comes to words and free speech, protected under the FIRST Amendment. Oh, by all means, regulate it, restrict it as we can’t have people not showing patriotism overtly even if they personally don’t feel too patriotic given the ways things are going in the US.

      This is the USA and we are supposedly free people, you want to kneel during the anthem have at it. Stand for it? Great. Everyone is making a statement and thus speech, including playing the anthem.

      If you want everyone to stand and honor our veterans, I bet if you turn off the anthem and say that everyone would stand for that to respect them but not the song. The anthem stands for this nation and its current politics and a lot of people don’t like them so they are free to express themselves. Just as the NRA is free to demand we allow chimpanzees obtain Glocks for self-protection and all in the zoo.

  7. This is the same NFL that wouldn’t allow Dallas players to show support for police officers murdered during the BLM protest in Dallas.

    Patriotism is the new racism.

    It doesn’t bother me one bit if they revert back and stop playing the Anthem.

    A ball game is private. Take it outside. I don’t a ‘protest’ inside my workplace, movie theatre, restaurant, etc.

    • michael on September 26, 2017 at 2:55 pm said:
      Naw, patriotism is the old racism !!!!!!!!

      …. and a cheap and frequent way to invoke elitism.

      end quote

      OK, I guess we have nothing in common and nothing more to talk about.

      • Agreed! YOU are the past Patrick, circa 1986! Michael and I the future.

        My strong suggestion for your bucket list: Burning Man. Before you die. It shall open your eyes and save your soul. Join us. Love people.

      • Hey Patrick – still hoping your flag decal is going to get you into heaven some day? That moral farce was exposed in 1968 – “Patriotism” is a method too often used (and very effectively) to keep people like you in line, by those who know how best to use it! People who know how to scare you and how to use you! The test that’ll prove my point is if you use it as a last resort when you can’t otherwise win a perfectly good argument because your facts won’t support what ever it is your trying to argue.

        • Its called experience that you obviously don’t have. There is and never has been a way since I left home at 17 to keep me in line and I rather doubt anything can scare me today. I don’t know what moral farce you’re referring too, don’t care, there have been many and I think I’ve experienced far more of them than you. It appears to me that there are more than a few here that are more ‘in line’ than they would believe. I’m going to a very warm place someday and am fine with that, I don’t like the cold anymore anyway.
          You can send me a flag decal anytime you like. i don’t have one. I just have a real flag and enjoy displaying it.
          Hmm, I thought I said we had nothing more to talk about. Shoulda listened to myself.

          • It sounds to me that you listen to yourself waaaaaaay too much, probably the only person who impresses you! You just THINK you know what you’re talking about. And why do you keep talking about yourself? Is it some sort of self assurance you need to survive?

  8. LOL ! I wish you the best with your new future living in Nevada.

    You don’t think this has been tried before ? I suggest you open your eyes. I’ll stay where I am way back in 1986.

    • Sad! The world moves way beyond your dead and corrupt world. Burning Man is a fun time of love and relaxation on Earth. But I guess hate is your “Thang” so sad you will never feel the unequivocal love I guess. So Sad Indeed! Loosen the Rand Paul britches that chain you to the prison and join us in the desert! We will wait for your OLD ass to catch up! And welcome you. You shall never be the same.

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