Sunday, July 15, 2018

My Father's 96 years of Being a Black Man in Racist America

by Kenny Anderson

On July 13, 2018 my father celebrated his 96th birthday, sitting with other family members, relatives, and friends I looked at my dad as he was sitting and thought about his 96 year experience of being a Black man in racist America. 
I thought about my dad who had constant nightmares all the while I was growing up, what I didn’t know at the time was his nightmares were symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from being shot multiples times in World War II. My father didn't receive treatment for his PTSD until he was 90 years old.
My father didn’t really talk about his WWII experience until he was over 80 years old. I remember my father shared with me that when he was brought back stateside after being wounded in Europe, he had to ride in the back of a segregated train while German POW’s rode on the front of the train; Nazi prisoners of war enjoyed more rights than Black American servicemen. My father fought against Nazis for so-called democracy abroad while domestically he was an oppressed 'second-class citizen' being denied his freedom (Civil Rights & Voting Rights) by the racist hypocritical American government. 

Black inductees like my father found discrimination and segregation rampant in the armed forces. Military and government officials rejected desegregation, some asserting the belief that Blacks were inferior. Segregation policies reflected the notion that Blacks didn't make adequate leaders and worked best under white supervision. The United States Army enlisted Black soldiers into separate regiments. The Navy confined Blacks to service roles as cooks, janitors, and waiters. The Marine Corps, for much of the war excluded Blacks altogether.

Army base chapels, mess halls, and entertainment centers also excluded or segregated Black soldiers. Black servicemen were sent to segregated training camps, often on military bases in the South where Black GIs were harassed for defying Jim Crow laws or, simply for wearing a military uniform. 

According to the Book ‘The Slaughter’ that alleges 1200 Black soldiers were massacred by fellow white soldiers at Camp Van Dorn in Centerville, Mississippi. A report “Lynching in America: Targeting Black Veterans,” concludes that during the period of mass lynchings “no one was more at risk of experiencing violence and targeted racial terror than Black veterans.”

Continuing to reflect on my father at his birthday gathering I thought about a conversation I had with my father when he stated that growing up in Mississippi a rabbit’s life was more valuable than a Black man’s life. He said if you shot and killed a rabbit outside of hunting season you would be put in jail, but a white man could shoot and kill a Black man anytime and would not do a day in jail! 



My father mentioned to me Black men in Mississippi were routinely lynched. Long before my father’s war bullet wounds caused his PTSD, Black men in Mississippi were already traumatized by racist lynchings. Below is a partial listing of Blacks lynched in Mississippi:

*Sloan Allen, West, December 23, 1893
*Samuel Adams, Pass Christian, November 5, 1903
*Washington Adams, Columbus, June 10, 1938
*Thomas Allen, McGee, March 11, 1899
*Wood Ambrose, Prentiss, June 11, 1906
*Alex Anderson, Grenada, March 20, 1898
*Moses Anderson, Brookfield, April 6, 1899
*Askew, Mississippi City, June 10, 1900
*Gloster Barnes, Vicksburg, October 23, 1900
*Rufus Beagley, Jackson, November 15, 1893
*Henry Bell, Greenwood, January 23, 1907
*Terry Bell, Terry, March 20, 1901
*Robert Betat, Bluff Creek, March 20, 1895
*Jack Betts, Corinth, August 13, 1900
*Thomas Bowen, Brook Haven, June 29, 1895
*Willia Boyd, Silver City, March 23, 1899
*William Bradford, Chunky, June 16, 1911
*Simon Brooks, Sardis, June 11, 1899
*Frank Brown, Tunica, September 14, 1900
*Jeff Brown, West Point, March 20, 1916
*William Brown, Tunica, September 14, 1900
*Walter Brownlee, Hinchcliff, October 15, 1913
*Robert Bryant, Vicksburg, May 3, 1903
*Thomas Burns, Hernando, November 3, 1914
*John Burr, Wesson, April 5, 1908
*Charles Burwell, Meridian, July 28, 1895
*Robby Buskin, Houston, February 9, 1909
*Louisa Carter, Jackson, November 15, 1893
*William Carter, Winston County, December 26, 1894
*William Chandler, Abbeyville, June 19, 1895
*Clark, Trail Lake, June 3, 1904
*Andrew Clark, Shubuta, December 21, 1918
*Major Clark, Shubuta, December 21, 1918
*Thomas Clark, Corinth, September 28, 1902
*Thomas Clayton, Hernando, March 10, 1900
*Sam Cole, Pea Ridge, January 7, 1898
*Alex Coleman, Starkesville, April 3, 1912
*Mimms Collier, Steenston, November 18, 1896
*James Cooper, Hemlock, May 27, 1897
*Spencer Costello, Flora, January 7, 1895
*Thomas Crompton, Centerville, October 25, 1906
*Harry Crosby, Louisville, September 21, 1913
*James Crosby, Tutwiler, March 4, 1900
*Henry Crower, Hernando, October 6, 1897
*Elmer Curl, Mastadon, June 12, 1910
*Joseph Dailey, Comorant, July 14, 1914
*Frank Davis, Lula, October 11, 1908
*Joseph Davis, Lula, October 11, 1908
*Dee Dawson, Hickory, October 10,1908
*R. W. Dawson, Natchez, June 17, 1895
*Robert Dennis, Greenville, June 4, 1903
*Bill Dukes, Natchez, August 15, 1918
*Sterling Dunham, Europa, June 26, 1904
*William Edward, Deep Creek Bridge, March 27, 1900
*G. W. Edd, Macon, May 7, 1912
*Jesse Evans, Edwards, April 16, 1897
*Zed Floyd, Tunica, September 12, 1900
*Lee Fox, Yazoo City, June 9, 1907
*William Fuller, Hickory, October 10, 1908
*Rid George, Hattiesburg, August 4, 1905
*Charles German, Belen, October 29, 1907
*Neeley Giles, Sucarnoochee, January 15, 1912
*Pary Gilliam, Aberdeen, June 28, 1897
*George Gordon, Albin, May 1, 1900
*Joseph Gordon, Greenwood, March 12, 1909
*Wesley Gould, Leland, July 12, 1898
*Ernest Green, Quitman, October 12, 1942
*James Green, Boyle, December 11, 1905
*Tom Green, Rolling Fork, July 6, 1938
*Alfred Grizzard, Tiptonville, June 21, 1889
*Haines, Belen, April 3, 1897
*Mann Hamilton, Starkesville, February 14, 1912
*Lewis Harkhead, Amite County, July 6, 1894
*Burke Harris, Cleveland, March 19, 1904
*David Harris, Rosedale, April 23, 1930
*Henry Harris, Glendora, July 19, 1905
*William Harris, Glendora, July 25, 1905
*Mose Hart, Corinth, May 20, 1903
*Stanley Hayes, Brandon, July 26, 1899
*Van Haynes, Columbia, June 2, 1917
*W. A. Healey, Jackson, November 15, 1893
*Pratt Hempton, Columbia, June 2, 1917
*Peter Henderson, Itta Bena, January 20, 1897
*A. Hicks, Rocky Springs, May 7, 1894
*Alexander Hill, Brookville, February 10, 1915
*Richard Hill, Philadelphia, September 1, 1901
*Eli Hilson, Brookhaven, December 24, 1903
*"Jet" Hinks, Lee County, November 8, 1906
*Samuel Hinson, Cushtusha, May 16, 1900
*William Hodges, Union, November 2, 1908
*Luther Holbert and his wife, Doddsville, February 7, 1904
*John Hollins, Drew, January 10, 1903
*T. W. Hollinshead, March 28, 1897
*Hood, Amite County, July 6, 1894
*James Hopkins, Glendora, December 27, 1897
*Alma House, Shubuta, December, 21, 1918
*Maggie House, Shubuta, December 21, 1918
*Pat Husband, McHenry, December 16, 1907
*Fred Isham, Macon, February 18, 1901
*Henry Isham, Macon, February 18, 1901
*Benjamin Jackson, Jackson, November 15, 1893
*Benjamin Jackson, Quincy, November 8, 1893
*Mahala Jackson, Jackson, November 15, 1893
*W. J. Jackson, Hernando, October 15, 1908
*William Jackson, Tunica, October 11, 1907
*John James, Woodville, October 10, 1905
*William James, Tallahatchie County, September 14, 1905
*Forest Jameson, Brookfield, April 6, 1899
*Cato Jarrett, Stouts Crossing, July 7, 1903
*Abe Johnson, Yazoo City, June 8, 1907
*Charles Johnson, Walnut Grove, August 17, 1902
*Edward Johnson, Vicksburg, January 20, 1915
*Elijah Johnson, Vicksburg, March 29, 1931
*Frank Johnson, Hickory, October 10, 1908
*Harry Johnson, Yazoo City, June 8, 1907
*Thomas Johnson, Hattiesburg, July 25, 1895
*Jones, Braxton, June 28, 1910
*Charles Jones, Yazoo City, September 20, 1908
*Charles Jones, Weason, December 10, 1897
*George Jones, Mayersville, September 1903
*James Jones, Macon, January 1, 1898
*Walter Jones, Harriston, September 28, 1913
*William Jones, Harriston, September 28, 1913
*William Jones, Lake Cormorant, March 6, 1898
*George Kincaid, Cleveland, June 12, 1903
*Charles Lang, Quitman, October 12, 1942
*Henry Leidy, Biloxi, November 10, 1908
*Lewis, Gulfport, December 20, 1900
*Edward Lewis, Hattiesburg, August 4, 1905
*George Linton, Brookhaven, June 28, 1894
*Pigg Lockett, Scooba, September 10, 1930
*Joseph Luflore, St. Anne, October 21, 1899
*James Martin, Bolton, December 23, 1899
*Warner Matthews, Ocean Springs, February 1, 1901
*Harvey Mayberry, Teysela, April 3, 1896
*Mayfield, Trail Lake, June 4, 1904
*Henry McAfee, Brownsville, April 19, 1900
*William McAlpin, Smith County, October 27, 1903
*Belfield McCray, Carrolton, August 1, 1901
*Betsy McCray, Carrolton, August 1, 1901
*Ida McCray, Carrolton, August 1, 1901
*John McDaniel, Smithdale, August 4, 1902
*"Bootjack" McDaniels, Winona, April 13, 1937
*John McDowell, Rankin County, September 19, 1905
*Wilder McGowan, Wiggins, November 21, 1938
*Johnson McQuirk, Love Station, February 16, 1914
*Leon McTatie, Lexington, July 22, 1946
*Meyer, Carrollton, October 27, 1907
*Mayshe Miller, Aberdeen, October 25, 1914
*Otto Mitchell, Durant, June 15, 1910
*William Mitchell, Sardis, July 16, 1915
*Pierce Moberly, Meridian, June 25, 1905
*Horace Montgomery, specific location unknown, April 11, 1909
*David Moore, Tunica, September 14, 1900
*"Judge" Moseley, Lockhart, November 7, 1911
*John M. Moses, Crystal Springs, June 25, 1897
*Horace Muller, Cookamie County, May 13, 1902
*Ready Murdock, Yazoo City, June 4, 1894
*Allen Myers, Rankin County, July 20, 1894
*Allen Nance, Greenwood, October 6, 1916
*Henry Noark, Hattiesburg, July 25, 1899
*William Ody, Clayton, July 15, 1902
*Thomas O'Neill, Meridian, April 19, 1910
*William Otis, Rawles Springs, September 20, 1899
*Mack Charles Parker, Poplarville, April 24, 1959
*Daniel Patrick, Scranton, June 20, 1899
*William Patterson, Westville, July 19, 1898
*Lawson Patton, Oxford, September 8, 1908
*Dago Pete, Tutwiler, June 3, 1900
*Sam Petty, Leland, February 24, 1914
*Theodore Picket, Jackson, July 6, 1895
*Eli Pigatt, Brookhaven, February 10, 1908
*David Poe, Van Cleave, March 10, 1908
*Augustus Pond, Tupelo, July 7, 1894
*Goerge Pond, Fulton, July 6, 1894
*William Price Carrolton, August 4, 1901
*Thomas Ranston, Van Cleave, March 10, 1908
*Henry Ratcliff, Gloster, May 1, 1900
*C. C. Reed, Silver City, March 23, 1899
*Alt Rees, Rosetta, September 1, 1905
*Bush Riley, Tallula, January 14, 1904
*George Robinson, Raymond, August 15, 1930
*George Robinson, Tunica, October 11, 1907
*William Robinson, Greenville, August 17, 1909
*William Robinson, Lambert, June 27, 1913
*Joe Rodgers, Canton, May 8, 1939
*Fayette Sawyer, Cleveland, March 19, 1904
*Saybrick, Fishers Ferry, March 30, 1894
*James Sellers, Pittsboro, July 28, 1897
*Rev. Isaac Simmons, Liberty, March 26, 1944
*David Simms, Coahoma, November 22, 1905
*Sam Simms, Jackson, May 8, 1906
*James Shoots, Tunica, October 11, 1907
*Claud Singleton, Poplarville, April 20, 1918
*Frank Smith, Newton, November 11, 1893
*Henry Smith, Clinton, May 29, 1894
*William Stern, Rosemeath, September 6, 1899
*Frederick Sullivan, Byhalia, November 24, 1914
*Mrs. Frederick Sullivan, Byhalia, November 25, 1914
*Henry Sykes, Van Vleet, October 23, 1907
*John Taylor, Aberdeen, November 12, 1915
*Andrew Thomas, Scranton, July 18, 1895
*Henry Thomas, Bolar, January 21, 1889
*Luke Thomas, Biloxi, June 15, 1894
*Nicholas Thompson, Armory, September 1, 1910
*Emmett Till, Monez, August 28, 1955
*Samuel Towner, Alligator, July 15, 1913
*Roosevelt Townes, Winona, April 13, 1937
*Andrew Trice, Olive Branch, July 20, 1907
*Jesse Tucker, Houston, July 10, 1904
*Van Horne, Trail Lake, June 3, 1904
*Mulloch Walker, Corinth, August 11, 1898
*Thomas Waller, Brookhaven, December 16, 1897
*Howard Wash, Laurel, October 17, 1942
*Sam Washington, Vicksburg, July 29, 1907
*James Watts, Pea Ridge, January 7, 1898
*Willie Webb, Drew, February 23, 1913
*Frank West, Bolton, December 23, 1899
*White, Tallahatchie County, December 6, 1898
*Holly White, Scooba, September 10, 1930
*Steve Wiley, Inverness, March 22, 1931
*Andrew Williams, Houston, February 7, 1913
*John Williams, Ittababa, August 28, 1908
*Lewis Williams, Hewitt Springs, June 9, 1894
*Will Williams, Centerville, September, 1903
*William Williams, Hamburg, October 16, 1897
*"Pink" Willis, Poplarville, Janaury 16, 1909
*Minor Wilson, Silver City, March 23, 1899
*William Wilson, Port Gibson, August 11, 1899
*Malachi Wright, Houston, July 9, 1949
*Moses York, Tunica, April 16, 1900
*Henry Young, Lake Cormorant, August 4, 1905
*Perry Young, Winona, June 27, 1896
*Wes Young, Valley Park, December 5, 1906
*John Youngblood, Summit, November 20, 1902
*George Younger, Columbus, May 23, 1906

Saturday, July 7, 2018

James Cone A Remarkable Black Man Dedicating His Life to Black Liberation Theology

By Kenny Anderson

James Cone August 5, 1936 - April 28, 2018
Back in the early 1980’s as a young Black community activists I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with the great Black theologian James Cone who had given a lecture at Eastern Michigan University. I didn't realize it at the time that me and Brother Cone were born on the same day August 5th

Since Brother Cone’s recent death (4-28-18) I’ve been in a deep reflective mode rereading and reanalyzing this now honorable Ancestor’s great works. Many refer to Brother Cone as the father of Black Liberation Theology, from my perspective James Cone did not open the door to Black Liberation Theology he was a dedicated proponent of it; he continued in the vein of his freedom-fighting liberation theology forefathers the likes of David Walker who wrote ‘The Appeal’ (1829) and Henry Highland Garnett who gave one of the greatest speeches ‘An Address To The Slaves Of The United States’ (1843). 

The two greatest Black Christian theologians in my life time has been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Cone, both articulated that the message of liberation was at the core of the gospel. Brother James Cone vigorously articulated throughout his life of God’s radical identification with the liberation of Black people in the United States. Brother Cone’s first book was ‘Black Theology & Black Power’ (1969), continuing with ‘A Black Theology of Liberation’ (1970), and ‘God of the Oppressed’ (1975). 


Cone’s most recently published book 'The Cross and the Lynching Tree' (2011) won the 2018 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, the following is a quote from the book:
“While white mob violence against African Americans was an obsession in the South, it was not limited to that region. White supremacy was and is an American reality. Whites lynched Blacks in nearly every state, including New York, Minnesota, and California. Wherever blacks were present in significant numbers, the threat of being lynched was always real. Blacks had to “watch their step,” no matter where they were in America. A Black man could be walking down the road, minding his business, and his life could suddenly change by meeting a white man or a group of white men or boys who on a whim decided to have some fun with a Negro; and this could happen in Mississippi or New York, Arkansas, or Illinois. By the 1890s, lynching fever gripped the South, spreading like cholera, as white communities made Blacks their primary target, and torture their focus. Burning the Black victim slowly for hours was the chief method of torture. Lynching became a white media spectacle, in which prominent newspapers, like the Atlanta Constitution, announced to the public the place, date, and time of the expected hanging and burning of Black victims. Often as many as ten to twenty thousand men, women, and children attended the event. It was a family affair, a ritual celebration of white supremacy, where women and children were often given the first opportunity to torture black victims burning Black flesh and cutting off genitals, fingers, toes, and ears as souvenirs. Postcards were made from the photographs taken of Black victims with white lynchers and onlookers smiling as they struck a pose for the camera. They were sold for ten to twenty-five cents to members of the crowd, who then mailed them to relatives and friends, often with a note saying something like this: “This is the barbeque we had last night.”

“The lynching tree so strikingly similar to the cross on Golgotha should have a prominent place in American images of Jesus’ death. But it does not. In fact, the lynching tree has no place in American theological reflections bout Jesus’ cross or in the proclamation of Christian churches about his Passion. The conspicuous absence of the lynching tree in American theological discourse and preaching is profoundly revealing, especially since the crucifixion was clearly a first-century lynching. In the “lynching era,” between 1880 to 1940, white Christians lynched nearly five thousand black men and women in a manner with obvious echoes oaf the Roman crucifixion of Jesus. Yet these “Christians” did not see the irony or contradiction in their actions.”  - James Cone