The Earth seems to stand still every time injustices knocks at its ground. People hold their breath for one whole second and after that, they breathe and continue on with their lives. Like ghostly ghouls, the spirit of those angels whose lives were taken from them too early linger in this world waiting to be heard. On February 26, 2012 it was a calm rainy night.You would think that everything in the world would be joyous, but that hasn’t been the case since man walked the Earth. On this night, a man followed a child. That child was simply trying to go home. The man followed him, they confronted each other, and one of them died. Later, the police arrived and briskly canvassed the scene. What they saw was a Black teen laying lifeless on the ground and a barely injured man acting helpless. That young Black man name was Trayvon Martin and he deserves to be heard.
Lynching has been going on since African people were enslaved and brought to America. Some believe that the term lynching derives from a slave owner named Willie Lynch. In 1712, on the river banks of the James River in Virgin, Willie Lynch stood erect and prideful. He delivered a speech that would forever shape the fear of Black people. Willie Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies. His speech began as followed: “Gentlemen. I greet you here on the bank of the James River in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First, I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia, for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves.” His humble greeting was nothing but a mask to the pain he so easy inflicted on other people. In contrast, many historians believe that this letter is a hoax however, lynching is nothing false or imaginative.
Slavery lasted for 550 years. Throughout all of those years, so many Black people were hung like strange fruit ripen from the breasts of trees. However, in today’s modern ear, killing anyone is a crime determined by law. But the law seems to be blind when a Black man’s life is taken from him.
On March 23, 1944, two White girls, Betty June Binnicker (11) and Mary Emma Thames (7), were murdered. Police suspected 14-year-old George Stinney because he was Black. According the Huffington Post, “The girls were last seen looking for wildflowers in the tiny, racially-divided mill town of Alcolu about 50 miles southeast of Columbia. Stinney’s sister, who was 7 at the time, said … her brother were letting their cow graze when the girls asked them where they could find flowers called maypops. The sister, Amie Ruffner, said her brother told them he didn’t know and the girls left.” After that, the girls were never seen again. Unfortunately, the girls were found dead in a ditch. Their heads beaten in with (most likely) a railroad spike. Police were informed that Stinney was seen talking to the two girls early and they instantly went to his home and took him. A forced confession was taken from him. How? It’s still undetermined. In an interview from 2009, the Huffington Post reported that Stinney’s brothers said, “George’s conviction and execution was something my family believed could happen to any of us in the family. Therefore, we made a decision for the safety of the family to leave it be,” Charles Stinney wrote in his sworn statement.” Stinney’s parents allowed for their son to be accused of murder because they were afraid that they could be killed too. Stinney is the youngest person ever executed in the United States. He was murdered lawfully 84 days after the two innocent were girls were murdered. The straps were two small to fit Stinney’s frame “and the electrodes were too big for his legs.” This is an example of a modern-day lynching. When a Black person is killed because of their color instead of the evidence is a lynching. When the law does nothing to stop the injustices that is happening, that is a lynching.
In the wee hours of New Years Day, 2009, Oscar Grant was shot by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer Johannes Mehserle. BART police received a call saying that an alleged fight was happening on a train. Once police arrived, they grabbed Oscar Grant and few other people and took them off the train. Grant was allegedly resisting arrest before he was fatally shot. Police had no legal justification for taking Grant and a friend off the train. When police arrived, there was no fight going on and police didn’t really know what they people who were allegedly fighting looked liked. Why do you think Grant was targeted?
Grant’s murderer, Johannes Mehserle, only was charged with involuntary manslaughter and served 2 years. Only 2. His reiteration of the story is that he was going to tase Grant but, he said he saw Grant reaching for his waistband and shot him in the back. The people on the train recorded everything that happened on their camera phones and soon, that video went viral. Regardless of the evidence that the courts had against Mehserle, he only served 2 years for killing a man.
One of the most recent modern-day lynchings is that of Trayvon Martin. As Trayvon was walking home from a friend’s house, he noticed a man, George Zimmerman, following him. He continued to walk, faster he walked and (maybe) ran. However, he couldn’t shake loose that man so he stopped running. Both Trayvon and Zimmerman allegedly confronted each other and a physical altercation began. What began as a physical altercation ended with a fatal gunshot wound to the chest. Trayvon was shot at point-blank range.
Zimmerman was block captain and, in his neighborhood, there were (allegedly) some break ins. Zimmerman had no clue who was breaking in but, when he saw Trayvon, he assumed it was him. The next question: why would Zimmerman assume that Trayvon was a robber? As Zimmerman called the police and told them that he saw a “suspicious” person walking, the police told him to go home. If Zimmerman would have listened to the authorities, a King would still be alive.
The world tuned in to Zimmerman’s trial and heard countless assumptions of what could have happened that dark and tragic night. So many people pleaded for justices and that never came. Once again, the law has failed us by letting an innocent young Black man be murdered in cold blood.
Too many times has this Earth broken down in tears trying to figure out where all of their Kings have gone. These young men weren’t just people, they were sons, could have been someone’s boyfriend, someone’s father, someone’s soul mate. They all had names and faces. Look at each of their faces and tell the people around you that you feel nothing when you see them. If you do, you are lying to yourself. Please understand that when a person is targeted and murdered because of their race it paralyzes everyone. People need to understand that race doesn’t exist. They need to understand that colors are what we, as a society, make them. Society has determined that Black is a form of evil; that it harvests negativity within its darkness. However, do the hands that pull the trigger and the people who turn a blind eye provide the darkness or does it reside within Black flesh?
Ask yourself: Why is it that when Black men are killed in front of the entire world nobody knows what happened?