, 8 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I am still processing my time at @eji_org touring the national lynching memorial and being surrounded by all the markers of those killed in the most brutal way, names known and unknown, simply because they descended from the enslaved.
Like every other black person who comes, I searched, knot in my throat, for my people’s county. I knew Leflore County, Mississippi, would be bad. But my knees weakened a bit when I saw the long list of death from my dad’s hometown. It confirmed even more why my family had fled.
Mississippi lynched more black people than any state in the country, and Leflore County lynched more black people than any county in the state. I wrote about this deadliest place a few years ago and of the near-lynchings family members faced. propublica.org/article/ghosts…
I paused and read the names and read the “crimes.” Things such as demanding payment for work, accidentally running into a white woman, talking back, refusing to give their land to a white man, walking behind a white man’s wife. And I felt so angry and so incredibly sad.
This was terrorism. There is no other word for it. Terrorism designed to keep black people in their place, to steal their land and crops, to ensure a compliant and exploitable labor force, to maintain white supremacy. Lynchings were planned in advance, advertised in newspapers.
And we must confront this, because this is who we are, still. The only W industrialized nation w the death penalty. Only one that until recently executed children. That sentences children to life without parole. Highest incarceration rate in the world. All disproportionately blk.
Bryan Stevenson is doing profoundly powerful and necessary work. And last night we sat just feet from where our ancestors were bought and sold in sight of the state capitol and talked about racial justice. I am changed. I am hurt. I am grateful. I am determined.
Side note: Montgomery is benefiting from the tourism dollars this museum and memorial is bringing — but Bryan Stevenson had to go bout planning and getting the permits covertly. Officials did not know it was about lynching until it was time to open. And they weren’t happy.
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