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!


It bothers me when I see someone in our country or in a foreign one desecrating the American flag. Like burning and stomping. Gets to me.

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that such conduct is not criminal. It is the expression of free speech. Constitutionally protected.

Homer Martz is an Iowa farmer. Conservative, God fearing, patriotic. A Chinese pipeline was laid next to his well. No one told Martz it was coming close or that close to his well.

Martz opted to protest. No one would hear him. He hung the American flag upside down. Not to show disrespect. To be heard. Note that the flag pole had been there. He daily flew the American flag.

He felt he had been denied due process because of the failure to advise, give him an opportunity to complain, etc.

Martz was arrested. Iowa law makes it a misdemeanor to misuse in any fashion the American flag. The word misuse is mine. The statute actually has a number of instances where the conduct is considered illegal.

Sticking specifically to the law,  the arrest is a bum one. Again, the Supreme Court in two instances said American flag desecration is constitutionally protected free speech.

I address Martz’s problem for a reason. State and local governments should have known Martz’s conduct was proper. Failing in that regard to do so now subjects Martz to the expense of an attorney, his personal loss of time from his farm work, the taxpaying public  forced to pick up a prosecutor’s bill, a Judge’s expense, and salaries for a full court staff.

The Iowa law should have been removed from the books years ago.

I consider today a significant one in American history. President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act this day in 1935.

I am confident I will receive a number of negative comments re my position concerning Social Security.

Sixty years from now someone will be writing as I have here regarding the Affordable Care Act.

Has to be difficult be a President’s child! There is a video floating around the internet claiming to show Malia smoking a joint. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Melia was in a group of peers at some event where everyone was jumping and yelling. Kid stuff. Something persons her age do.

As to the toke, I question whether true. The video has only a quick shot of Malia. It is her. Took all of a second and gone. The toke part not clear. At all. Very interpretive she was smoking pot.

If true, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Michelle addressed the issue with Malia.

Worked with Sloan yesterday afternoon. Learning the new cell phone, utilizing it together with the computer, etc. A pain in the ass for me. I call it mechanical retardation. Generational.

Some of my readers commented the phrase was incorrect. Technologically retarded appropriate.

Whatever, it is still hard for me. And I am sure others of my generation.

It was Tavern ‘n Town last night. I decided to skip Lobsterfest. Let me share two reasons why.

Summer festival time with stands and shoulder to shoulder crowds, etc. on Duval is a steam bath. Twenty degrees warmer. Body heat. Pictures in this morning’s Key West Citizen show the crowd.

The other reason is that I am not a fan of Florida lobster. I prefer Maine lobster. Not being a snob. Florida lobster is tougher and has a different taste.

I read somewhere this week that the Maine lobster which is available for purchase at Publix is cheaper per pound than the Florida lobster.

What that means besides cheaper, I don’t know. Just sharing.

Ran into an old Syracuse University friend at Tavern ‘n Town. Steve. We had dinner together. Several years back when Steve was not so busy, he used to join me for Syracuse basketball games.

Met Katie Sottak. Steve introduced me. She is a hostess at Tavern ‘n Town. A lovely personable young lady. Twenty seven. Originally from New Hampshire. Has lived in Key West three years.

Her real love is art. Her works are presently being shown at Island Wynds Gallery on Simonton. The gallery next door to Books & Books.

The Hackley baby continues to concern me. I wish Hackley would write the baby’s name in his diary once so we would know.

Today’s problem as described by Hackley was wind and pain. He gave the baby some gin.

The gin thing does not shock me. All families have home remedies that have come down over the years. I recall when my sister Joan was teething. My mother would pour a little Canadian Club over her finger and then rub the finger over Joan’s gums.

Enjoy your Sunday!