I Never Thought…

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Last night, I got involved in what has become a Saturday night ritual: watching real crime mysteries. I know, I know…as a certified hater off the TV’s ability to suck life right out of us, why would I spend an hour or two in front of such an object? Well, because this is the sorta TV that tickles my brain.

Last night was watching a show on cold cases; murders where the killers have never been brought to justice. This episode had to do with a killing of two African American teenagers in Mississippi in 1964. Members of the Klan were driving down the road, recognized the two boys, lied to them about who they were and the boys jumped into their truck…only to be drug into the woods, tied to a tree, beaten within an inch of their lives and then drowned in the Mississippi River. We’ve all heard the stories about lynchings and beatings in the south during the most difficult times, but for some reason, this struck me as worse. I’m not sure why-maybe it was the testimonies, maybe it was the fact they were near the spot where the boys were beaten, whatever. One of the Klansmen later reported to the FBI what had happened to finish off the young men. They were untied from the tree, thrown into the trunk of a car, driven to an island in the middle of the Mississippi River, tied to loose slabs of train track, then tossed in the river to drown.

Lacsidasical prosecutors, an unsympathetic community, the south in the middle of a civil rights movement, etc. etc….but there was never a conviction. Not even an indictment. The brother of one of the murdered boys now lives in Colorado Springs and was taken by the documentary crew to the town to try to find justice. It took 18 months and tons of trying, but they finally, finally got an indictment for the murders.

What struck me so much was the attitude of the brother. He said, “I never thought I could walk up to a white person and talk wth them…not here. Not in this town.”

Yes, there is prejudice and racism in the world. We all know that. But to have lived through such a horrific event and put that fear behind him to go back to ind justice(especially some 40 years later) is a tenacity we all should admire.

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