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!

NOSTALGIA

The last 24 hours brought back some yesterdays. Not personal ones. Interesting nevertheless.

The first was Al Gore. Former Vice-President. A world leader in protecting the environment.

Gore was with Hillary Clinton at Miami Dade College. Talking to college students about the environment. He is a recognized expert in the field. He prepared the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. A global warming warning. For which Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

He is older. We all are.  I have not seen him in 10-15 years. Put on a lot of weight. So have I.

Gore also talked about voting. Every vote counts was his pitch. Who better than he should know! He was defeated for President by George W. Bush. The chad election. Gore lost Florida by 500 plus votes. He won the overall national vote by 500,000 plus votes.

This morning, I read in the Key West Citizen of the coming Key West Film Festival. Scheduled this year for November 16-20.

Burt Reynolds will be in Key West for the Festival.  He is receiving a Career Achievement Award.

Reynolds is now 82. Looks good. One of his big hits was Smokey & the Bandit. A documentary of the behind the scenes goings on will be shown at the Festival.

Reynolds gave me/us pleasure. Each of his roles genuine.

Finally, Nikita Khrushchev. Leader of the Soviet Union. At a time when the Soviet Union was unquestionably the enemy of the United States.

It was the fall of 1960. I was waiting for my bar exam results. Khrushchev was at the United Nations in New York. During someone’s talk, Khrushchev disagreed. He stood up and took off one of his shoes. He pounded the table with his shoe.

Khrushchev was a pig. Looked like and acted like one. A reporter at the time described him as a “hotheaded buffoon.”

Khrushchev and Trump have many similarities.

When you get to my age, you feel you have lived history. Actually, you have lived through historical moments. The memorable ones vivid in your mind.

Spent yesterday prepping for my blog talk radio show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Two items I hit on involved the election and opium. Not related.

A book came out monday. A Filthy Risk, etc. The story of Jeffrey Epstein. A portion of the book his relationship with Bill Clinton. Epstein was convicted in 2008 of soliciting a child for prostitution. He did 13 months.

The book has a first printing of 500,000 copies. Expected to be a big seller. Before this week is out, you should begin hearing its contents. Knowing how Trump plays, the Clinton contents could become a campaign bomb.

Two years ago, I wrote a lengthy KONK Life column on Afghanistan and opium. Opium poppies are used to make heroin.

Afghanistan supplies 90 percent of heroin world wide. The biggest supplier to the streets of America. Heroin presently being the U.S.’s major drug problem.

Opium growing in significant amounts began when the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan in 2001. We are still there in some form. The question I raised in the KONK column and again last night is why none of the opium poppy fields were destroyed during the terrible Afghanistan conflict. Production grew, the war lords owning the fields got richer, and the peasants working the poppy fields neither injured nor killed.

Strange.

I got back into Afghanistan and opium because of a recent study that indicated 30,000 babies in the United States were born last year addicted to some opiate. Generally, heroin or crack.

Because the mom was a junkie, babies are born drug dependent. It takes several days for the babies to complete withdrawal. The babies cry non stop from the pain. Yes, even young ones can hurt.

Which brought me back to Afghanistan. Why have we permitted the opium to grow? The response that we have done everything we can is bullshit.

Something stinks here.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

HEMINGWAY’S PARIS

Tom Oosterhaudt publishes a popular Key West weekly. Conch Color. A well done work. His editorial this week involves Paris and Hemingway.

Hemingway spent seven years in Paris. He wrote of those years. The book Paris Est Une Fete. Translated, Paris Is A Party. The book was published in the U.S. also. The title different. A Moveable Feast. Why, I do not know.

The book was published long ago. Not mentioned in years. Till the recent Paris terrorist attack. The book came alive again. It is #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Tom’s excellent editorial contains a Hemingway quote at the end. Reflective of Hemingway’s ability to blend words. “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

I spent yesterday afternoon writing this week’s KONK Life column. The Eiffel Tower. A biography of the Eiffel Tower.  I was motivated to write something about Paris for the same reason as Tom. The terrorist attack. The column publishes wednesday.

Dinner last night at Tavern ‘n Town. I read Conch Color and Tom’s editorial while enjoying dinner at the bar.

Sue Puskedra is lovely, talented and hard working. She owns and operates Susie’s Key West Estates Sales. Does an excellent job. I know from experience.

Susie conducted an estate sale this past weekend that saddens me. I suspect also many Key Westers. After 21 years, Pelican Poop has closed its doors. A Key West icon gone. Never to return.

Paris continues to be in the news. The Paris Climate Summit begins today. Nearly 200 nations attending. Thousands of staff. I agree global warming is a problem. A significant one. However, I doubt the conference will have much success. Too many countries and corporations with divergent  interests affected.

I have yet to visit Paris. A must do for me. Hopefully in the near future. I have visited several small French towns at the foot of Mont Blanc. Ski country. I liked the area. The people not so much. I found the French to be snobbish.

Global warming and climate change being felt in Key West this year. The sea level has risen. Streets normally not flooded are flooded with salt water. Without a major rainstorm.

There is a three day conference beginning tomorrow at Casa Marina to begin dealing with the problem.

Tough to go undefeated in any sport these days. The Patriots found out yesterday when they lost to Denver 30-24. I watched parts of the game. The ability to play a game in snow and cold amazes me.

I am back to Body Owners today. I have not been on the anti-gravity treadmill since last wednesday. My body tells me I have missed it.

Enjoy your day!