Trayvon Martin

In view of the slaying of Trayvon Martin, I think it’s appropriate to quote a poem that is one of my favorites and is quoted in my first book, Adam, The Altaic Ring & “The Children of the Sun.”  I thing it is appropriate because – unfortunately – we are still hanging.  We are still hanging when the police told Zimmerman NOT to follow Trayvon; Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon; then Zimmerman shot Trayvon; claimed self-defense and has yet to be charged with any crime.

It was estimated that a hundred Negroes died that day [in 1917] in East St. Louis-a tragedy that aroused bitterness in the hearts of many black Americans.  The Negro poetess Leila Amos Pendleton wrote these lines in honor of those who died by lynching during these years.

Hang there, O my murdered brothers, sons of Ethiopia,

our common Mother! Hang there, with faces upturned,

mutely calling down vengeance from the Most High God!

Call down vengeance upon this barbarous nation,

a nation of hypocrites, time-servers

and gold worshippers…

Hang there until their eyes are unsealed and they

behold themselves as they are and as they appear to

an amazed world!  Hang there until their foresworn

souls perceive the true meaning of Liberty and Justice,

until they catch a glimmer of the meaning of Christianity!

From Steven Jantzen’s, Hooray For Peace, Hurrah For War: A History Of World War I.

Please note that there is an examination of what Leila Amos Pendleton meant about “the meaning of Christianity” in Adam, The Altaic Ring & “The Children of the Sun.”  It is very doubtful that she meant the amazing or mysterious grace of Augustine or Pope John Paul II.

And here is a brief recap of the East St. Louis riots of 1917.  Note the actions of the police and National Guard.  Do you think that if Trayvon Martin had been told not to follow Zimmerman and shot him, Trayvon would not have been arrested?  REALLY?

In response to the rioting, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sent W.E.B. DuBois and Martha Gruening to investigate the incident.  They compiled a report entitled “Massacre at East St. Louis,” which was published in the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis.  The NAACP also staged a silent protest march in New York City in response to the violence.  Thousands of well-dressed African Americans marched down Fifth Avenue, showing their concern about the events in East St. Louis.

The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) also responded to the violence.  On July 8th, 1917, the UNIA’s President, Marcus Garvey said “This is a crime against the laws of humanity; it is a crime against the laws of the nation, it is a crime against Nature, and a crime against the God of all mankind.”  He also believed that the entire riot was part of a larger conspiracy against African Americans who migrated North in search of a better life: “The whole thing, my friends, is a bloody farce, and that the police and soldiers did nothing to stem the murder thirst of the mob is a conspiracy on the part of the civil authorities to condone the acts of the white mob against Negroes.”

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