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!


Irma came, did her thing, and left. She left behind ruination, despair and hope.

How things stand today.

I drove down Duval yesterday. From the Gulf to the Atlantic. Not a pretty sight. Most storefronts and buildings still boarded. Physical damage on a varying scale to some buildings.

The most significant observation was the desolation. Few on the street. Very few. Like death had visited.

The bars are starting to open. Rick’s, Sloppy Joe’s, Irish Kevin’s, the Bull, and Jack Flats. More employees than customers. Except for the gay bars in mid Duval. Bourbon Street and 801. Packed.

There was a FEMA truck on Duval. Handing out food packages. Only the minority community evident.

I mentioned the FEMA sign up tents behind the Simonton fire station yesterday. Only minorities evident there. It appears we have left racial/ethnic groups behind. Same as Katrina. Not in assistance today. Rather in becoming part of the American dream.

A cruise ship coming in today. Why? Key West today not the Key West of yesterday. Key West needs time to recuperate. Downtown looks like hell.

Three more cruise ships expected this week.

Some say we have to get business going again. Bring the cruise ships in! Locals need to work. Rent is due the first of the month. Only one week away.

I spent yesterday afternoon resting. Actually, sleeping. The return drive killed me. Just as the drive to Birmingham had. My 82 years very evident in the tiredness I am experiencing.

Hit the Chart Room first last night. First time the Chart Room has been open since Irma.

I was the sixth person to arrive. An hour later when I left, I was the only customer remaining.

Shawn bartending.

Peter Petro manages 40 properties. One is the home I live in. I have been bugging the man ever since Irma was on the horizon. Even now since I have returned. Cleanup time. I am a tenant, not an owner. A wonderful experience!

Peter does his job well, even though I am a bit too anxious at times.

Peter was at the Chart Room when I arrived. With his wife Rebecca who I met for the first time. A nice lady.

Rebecca marries people in Key West. She is a Notary and notaries are permitted to do so. In fact, most marriages performed in Key West are by a Notary such as Rebecca. Rebecca also performs live theater at the Red Barn. She is featured in a show opening next month.

Then to Don’s Place to watch the Syracuse/LSU game. Don, David, Stan and Claire there.

Sitting next to me watching the game were Troy and Jenny. Troy a die hard Michigan fan. He was watching Michigan on one screen as I was watching Syracuse on the one next to it.

Syracuse looked good the first half. Gave up 10 points they should not have. Still in the game, however. Syracuse defense played well.

LSU got another touchdown at the beginning of the second half. Syracuse was basically 3 touchdowns behind. I viewed it as the beginning of the end. Went home to bed.

Never even tried to find out the final score till this morning. Syracuse came back. Sort of. Final score had LSU winning 35-26. A late 4th quarter LSU touchdown led to LSU’s 35 points.

Syracuse was a 23 point underdog going into the game. Syracuse played well. They did better than LSU stat wise. Note LSU was a ranked team going into the game.

This is not going to be a Syracuse year. Better than most in recent years I suspect. Perhaps glory will return a few years from now. It has been a long time.

Yesterday was the first day Don’s was open its full hours.

Ice is a problem all over town. Bar owners and restaurants are running all over looking for some to buy.

Our animal and fish friends are of concern also.

A Sugarloaf homeowner was looking out his window. Thought he saw a porpoise stranded in the mangroves. Called the Sheriff’s Office, who in turn contacted Wildlife Conservation and the dolphin hospital Dolphin Plus.

Representatives of all three groups hurried to the scene and effected a rescue. Two veterinarians involved. They waded out to the porpoise. A female. Slightly burned from the sun. Otherwise, ok. Carried her to deeper water and let her go.

I received a red flag call this morning from Jeanne H. Stevenson. Not a Key Wester. Her sister Anne is, however. She can’t reach Anne. Concerned. Wants to know if I could help.

Anne sells newspapers outside the church. All I was told about her.

Anyone having any information re Anne, please let me know so I can convey it on to her sister.

Key West’s curfew was lifted yesterday. Stay out all night folks!

The remainder of the Keys still have curfews.

Comcast making progress. A step at a time. Too little from my perspective. I had TV when I returned home last night. Still no land line or wi-fi.

Sloan due soon. A ton of catch up work to do.

Enjoy your Sunday!