Exposed: America’s Darkest Secret

Posted on May 6, 2018 by

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Montgomery, Alabama has the appearance of an old southern city that is changing from its racist past into a city that wants to contribute to the uncovering one of America’s darkest historical periods.  On a warm sunny day, hundreds attended the first public showing of the city’s National Museum of Peace and Justice – an 11,000 sq. ft. facility and a 6 acres compound that was developed to present the names of thousands of people who were lynched during the turn of the 20th century.

 

Exiting View

National Museum of Peace and Justice is on a superb hilltop landscape of 6 acres.

Many were simply lynched without cause and counted as an “unknown”.  A shocking impact of the sheer numbers: four thousand four hundred documented murders, their names punched in 10 gage rusty steel rectangle boxes about the size of a shallow grave plot.  Some are hanging as if a noose were around the neck, as if one is walking through a graveyard, a scene of a mass murder and a battlefield all at the same time.

Hanging Fruit

Hundreds of names hanging as if fruit from tree.

The attendees are slowly walking around as in a daze, in wonderment, and in shock about a message from a cruel and terrible period in American’s history.  Attendees are silent as they walk the path from beginning to ending – a path that most would never forget.  Clicking cameras and the flashes thereof were another reminder that our history in America is very important and must be preserved as a message of what shouldn’t ever happen again.

Hands Up

“Hands up don’t shoot”, an expression that represents police shooting of African-Americans and D.O.J. abuses.

Towards the ending, people began to talk to each other, strangers started embracing the reality, and as the surreal came down, a story of pain immersed.  Suddenly, attendees started looking around each other for answers: What happened?   

Men and Flags

As if from nowhere, these men appeared carrying huge American flags, a symbol of freedom, justice, and equity.

How could this have happened in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, how did the rule of law collapse? And, could it happen again?  Of course, those questions are yet to be addressed.  This museum is an excellent starting point.  It’s my desire to see every county in America where a single lynching took place, erect a memorial as a reminder of our past inhumanity.

 At it’s ending, was a memorial dedicated to the women who took part in the civil rights struggle.  The crowd wasn’t ready for what was about to happen; two ladies came forward to embrace one of the three statues of women.  

Mothers

Ms. Louvenia examines a stature of her mother whom she shares her name and a statue of her great-grand mother, Ms. Lavenia (R).

 

One woman cried as she softly placed her arms around the statue.  I asked the other lady who was with her why was she crying?  She quietly mentioned, “It’s her mother”.   Quickly, more attendees started to circle the couple and the statues.  With glaring and watery eyes, the pain surfaced as the crowd became fully engulfed in another emotional and powerful reminder that we’re still alive and witnessing the righting of a terrible wrong.

Chained Human Beings Exit Shot

Life like statures create a shock and awe effect like no other.

Several haunting statues seem to reach out begging for help. As one gets to the exit, where there isn’t a door but, a big opening.  One monument strikes the brain and soul of several figures chained around the necks and wrists; all are displaying a different kind of stressful and personal torment.  Finally, we exit into this beautiful garden (after a “Tour of Names” (4,400) African-Americans, who were lynched or died in racial murders between 1877 and 1950), there it seems as if your mind is given back to you and cause you to think easier in another direction.  

Shelby County

Shelby County, Tennessee among the highest (20) number of lynching.

 

Desoto County, Miss

Desoto County, Mississippi

In Shelby County, Tennessee, particularly Memphis, 20 lynching occurred and thousands in the surrounding areas. Memphis is most likely the last metropolitan city in America that finally named a street after Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.  The racial tension is still so thick, that it could be cut with a knife and is easily noticed upon stepping into the city.  Memphis hasn’t changed from its days of hate and racial divide.  Even though the city has had two African-American mayors, still there is little change.  The greater wrongs are, with a population of approximately 70% African-American, the people are in a crime wave, murders in the street are of unknown proportion, joblessness is an epidemic, and families are torn and divided.

Beale STAX

Memphis: Beale Street, Civil Rights Museum, and STAX Museum

It’s unbelievable, after creating one of the most well-known heritages in the world; African-Americans don’t own or control any of their heritages, historical monuments, or institutions like Beale Street, the STAX Museum, Clayborn Temple, and the Lorraine Motel (National Civil Rights Museum).  All of these institutions, except for STAX Museum, are connected to Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. and his contribution to addressing the sanitation workers strike and racial divide in Memphis, where he lost his life to an assassin’s bullet, April 4, 1968 at the Lorraine Motel.

 

 It’s of this writer’s opinion, a legal organization that represents the best interests of African-Americans’ heritage and their historical institutions must emerge for the sole purpose of taking back all- important structures and places of historical significance and any thing else relevant to the history and heritage of African-Americans. 

Landscape Back

Memorial Square: background

 

 

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