This week Alabama opened its extraordinary National Memorial for Peace and Justice, an outdoor exhibit dedicated to this country's over 4,00 black victims of lynching - for "crimes" like writing a white woman a note - represented by rusting steel columns hanging like dead bodies. Documenting a "history of America too few know or want to acknowledge," its goal is to offer "a place of healing," the start of "a truth and reconciliation process - but truth first."
Yes. Reparations are in order. Denial is a tricky, sticky wicket to overcome, because it entails a very private human emotional release, in the form of crying. Yes. Tears that just upwell at each and every gasping at new information that breaks throught to the heart, with perhaps a: “Oh, my god.” Over a long time, this automatic bodily reaction and revulsion brings uncontrollable sobbing, too. Like when we lose someone who dies. Righteous anger eventually takes root, eventually, in our psyche (at least in my own racism recovery, recently). For me, it also started with Trump. Then The Poor People’s Campaign: A Call to National Moral Revival happened out of the Moral Mondays Movement in N. Carolina. Listening to Reverend Barber started my recovery from 70 years of racist denial. Very poignant article, Abby. You are very emotionally close to the heart throb of the day. Very few people are. Barber. Neil Young. Billy Talen. Willie Nelson. Dr. Gerald Horne. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Noam Chomsky. Dan Ellsberg. And others.
“Strange Fruit”. I’ll never forget when I, a white guy, heard that song for the first time and realized what it was about. Initially, I felt ashamed and horrified that such things could happen in the “Good Ole USA”. I was very young and naive. But more importantly, it was the beginning of my awakening to the fact that there is more to the “truth” about this nation and world than I’m being told in school. For example, I suddenly knew, as a high school aged kid, that, even at that age, I knew next to nothing about black history and that the history that I _was being taught_was flawed and incomplete and I really wanted to know why. So, thank you Billie Holiday and Abby Zimet for keeping me informed.
A reminder that there are still good people in Alabama and elsewhere. Bless you Alabama.
Bless you Montgomery. Bless you Bryan Stevenson. Thanks and blessing also to the Southern Poverty Law Center, also located in Montgomery.
You might want to read and watch the accompanying video:
And check out the following books:
The Counter Revolution of 1776 by Gerald Horne and King’s book, Devil In The Grove
Well I appreciate their trying. But seems like trying to piss out a gigantic forest fire.
And another from Propublica…
We need the conversations about the Taboos so we can actually start the change
Until we have the conversations the Denial will continue
I have known this since I was 19 and shipped to Biloxi Mississippi. First place I was ever shot at
Such a sad opportunity missed with Mr Obama and Mr Holder, I campaigned so hard praying for a Civil Rights Renaissance.
In the end I just prayed we wouldn’t have a JFK ending
Instead the Truth of our times showed its face through Black Lives Matter
So many denials even when the videos showing the truth
Police Thugs strangling a Man over cigarettes
Denial still running strong
Thank you so much. I shall.
The sins of “our” past?
My Irish Catholic grandmother fled a country with 1300 YEARS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST MY ANCESTORS BY THE ANGLO-SAXONS, only to arrive in New York City in 1913 at the age of 16 years old alone, poor and terrified, to find signs above some businesses and employment advertisements saying “Irish Need Not Apply”.
Her grandparents endured the Irish Famine, “The Great Troubles”, wherein some ONE to TWO MILLION Irish starved to death while England’s first future Jewish prime minister, Benjamin D’Israeli made every effort to block food aid to the Irish and thereby solve the Irish Question once and for all.
My Italian grandfather fled the lethal poverty and corruption of Sicily to toil as a cook in New York restaurants, wiped out by the Great Depression, eventually succumbing to alcoholism.
Neither they nor anyone in my family were involved in lynchings or any violence against African Americans.
This museum is a grotesque monument which will serve only to worsen “race” relations in the United States.
I propose a museum for Palestinians showing the 70 odd years of slaughter of that people by the Zionists.
Or perhaps a museum of African history showing Africans enslaved by other Africans before any Portuguese ever arrived in that land.
Twice as many poor white men are shot dead by American police each year as black. Doesn’t ever make a headline. Yes, yes, blacks are shot dead in disproportionate numbers but that fact doesn’t negate the fact that police brutality ends the lives of a great many white peoples’ lives too.
If the issue isn’t wealth inequality then we will continue to be played, divided and conquered through ethnic conflict.
This museum is a politically correct monstrosity.
Why no museum to the Palestinian victims of Ashekenazi Zionist slaughter of 70 years which the United States facilitates? I think a display of Rachel Corries crushed and bloodied body in the muddy tracks of an Israeli bulldozer as one walks in the front door would be perfect.
The thing is - “race” was made up by those who lost the people they had enslaved, and the economy which depended on slaves - who did not choose to come here. The loss of clarity on that point of history is why this museum is in fact so valuable. What do we share? The consequences of a predatory economic model.
Why no museum to the Palestinian victims?
Excellent point Ed, when you get ready to put one up I’ll donate.
But I think you are missing the point here and why you want to rain on this parade is unclear.
Point here is the degradation of the Human Spirit and the Atrocities not spoken that continue to happen today.
Police strangled Eric Garner to death with an illegal choke hold for the crime of selling a cigarette. All video taped, all witnessed, yet another Black Man assassinated at the hands of NYPD and all are found innocent.
That’s the point.
As one Irishman to another.
My family migrated in the 1880-90’s still have family in Munster.
And yeah “Irish need not Apply” was the same for us,
it’s just that for the US Black Man and Native American it resembles Genocide at best.
Ever wonder why so many African Americans have Irish surnames? It ain’t because the Irish owned the plantations. (Many of the cotton plantations were owned by Jewish interests, where Levi got his denim, many by Anglo Saxons. Gone With the Wind distorted facts by portraying the owners of Tara as Irish. )
And 1300 years of Anglo Saxon genocide drove the Irish to America, why no museum showing a starving Irish parent eating one of their dead children? Why no museum with a big display of Benjamin D’Israeli making one of his parliamentary speeches trying to block repeal of the Corn Laws?
It’s not denial of the atrocities. It’s the ghastly tone and the display and the implication of the victim and the victimizer, and the hypocrisy of politically allowable displays. This museum will NOT bring Gentile whites and black Americans together. It will foment resentment and divisiveness with these displays.
You want to bring Americans together? Provide an additional child tax credit for “bi-racial” unions that produce children. They ought to do that in Israel too between the Jews and their victims the Palestinians. I bet that kind of investment will do a shitload more than giant ghastly images of wailing chained bleeding Africans.
That’s the point, 1Ed. The hundreds of years of slavery, of families torn apart, of humans being bred like cattle…that was pretty ghastly. Public lynchings, decapitations, castrations, and burnings…those were pretty ghastly too. This truth must be faced in all its ugliness,
before any reconciliation will be possible. This can be neither “sugar-coated” nor ignored.
I disagree. 1300 years of Irish Celtic genocide is not enshrined in a ghastly museum of horrors. But perhaps you don 't care about Irish suffering. Shall I rub your face in it?
Get my point?
This little shop of horrors is only divisive, not healing, like primal scream therapy, it will ultimately bring no good. Never.
Lynchings were and are carried out by psychopaths, since they are the feral subset of all races the travesty is that all of mankind doesn’t rid earth of psycho’s.
Slave owners were 100% psychopaths, there wasn’t a normal human among them…
No one with humanity is racist, can lynch or is so arrogant as to think they can own another human.
Shine the light on the real culprit… the feral monkeys that walk among us.