Posted by: JanF | August 4, 2016

The limits of forgiveness, the power of our votes

Yesterday, the State of Alabama denied parole to the murderer of these children.

(Clockwise from top left, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair)

These girls were killed for one reason: hatred for the color of their skin.

We are often called upon to forgive (and forget – now that we are post-racial!) but these four girls should never be forgotten and their murderers should never be set free.

Say their names:
– Addie Mae Collins
– Cynthia Wesley
– Carole Robertson
– Carol Denise McNair

We must never again allow racism and bigotry to be accepted as the norm. We must forcefully reject a political party, the Republican Party, where politicians who embrace the rhetoric of white supremacy can be nominated for the highest office in the land. Reject hatred, reject bigotry, reject Republicans.

The only way to end discrimination is to keep the power to make laws out of the hands of those who do not recognize the worth of every person.

Vote. And then when you finish voting, help someone else to vote.

From the History Channel:

http://player.history.com/pservice/embed-player/?siteId=hist&tPid=138672195905

On September 15, a bomb exploded before Sunday morning services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama–a church with a predominantly black congregation that served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders. Four young girls were killed and many other people injured; outrage over the incident and the violent clash between protesters and police that followed helped draw national attention to the hard-fought, often dangerous struggle for civil rights for African Americans. […]

Precisely because of its reputation as a stronghold for white supremacy, civil rights activists made Birmingham a major focus of their efforts to desegregate the Deep South.

Black churches were and are the heart and soul of the civil rights movement and the target of hatred and bigotry:

Many of the civil rights protest marches that took place in Birmingham during the 1960s began at the steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church, which had long been a significant religious center for the city’s black population and a routine meeting place for civil rights organizers like King. KKK members had routinely called in bomb threats intended to disrupt civil rights meetings as well as services at the church.

At 10:22 a.m. on the morning of September 15, 1963, some 200 church members were in the building–many attending Sunday school classes before the start of the 11 am service–when the bomb detonated on the church’s east side, spraying mortar and bricks from the front of the church and caving in its interior walls. Most parishioners were able to evacuate the building as it filled with smoke, but the bodies of four young girls (14-year-old Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson and 11-year-old Denise McNair) were found beneath the rubble in a basement restroom. Ten-year-old Sarah Collins, who was also in the restroom at the time of the explosion, lost her right eye, and more than 20 other people were injured in the blast.

Justice can never be achieved while the unjust control the justice system:

Though Birmingham’s white supremacists (and even certain individuals) were immediately suspected in the bombing, repeated calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice went unanswered for more than a decade. It was later revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had information concerning the identity of the bombers by 1965 and did nothing. (J. Edgar Hoover, then-head of the FBI, disapproved of the civil rights movement; he died in 1972.) In 1977, Alabama Attorney General Bob Baxley reopened the investigation and Klan leader Robert E. Chambliss was brought to trial for the bombings and convicted of murder. Continuing to maintain his innocence, Chambliss died in prison in 1985. The case was again reopened in 1980, 1988 and 1997, when two other former Klan members, Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry, were finally brought to trial; Blanton was convicted in 2001 and Cherry in 2002. (A fourth suspect, Herman Frank Cash, died in 1994 before he could be brought to trial.)

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Responses

  1. Last night, Trump supporter Clint Eastwood, born in 1930, bemoaned the “political correctness” of having to keep one’s racism under wraps:

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  2. From NPR

    Alabama’s attorney general, Luther Strange, also lodged an official protest against granting Blanton parole. “The cold-blooded callousness of his hate crime is not diminished by the passage of time, nor is any punishment sufficient to expunge the evil he unleashed,” he said, and added that Blanton has “never shown any remorse whatsoever.”

    Why would he show remorse? The Republican Party, the party of cold-blooded callousness and hate, has never shown remorse for creating the Southern Strategy, letting Lee Atwater design their angry white voter outreach, and unleashed evil by nominating a racist for the presidency.


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