Lessons from the ride to Jackson County

Union and Confederate dead at Gettysburg

Yesterday, rode up to Marianna to see for myself what I would find and found more than I expected.

Then doing research last night, out jumped the devil. “…By 1930, four thousand blacks had been lynched nationwide by white mobs, vigilantes, or the Klan. Most of these occurred in the Deep South, many with law enforcement complicity. And while Alabama and Mississippi had more total lynchings, it was Florida, surprisingly, that had the highest per capita rate of lynching from 1900-1930.

Handcuffed Lynching

 One of the most notorious lynchings in U.S. history occurred in Marianna, Florida – some two hundred miles from where Harry Moore grew up. The lynching of Claude Neal was the last of the so-called spectacle lynchings. [Claude Neal]…” It gets better “…This unidentified man was one of 61 African-Americans lynched in Florida from 1921-1946.…”Freedom Never Dies..

Make no mistake, I am not a southerner but the dates of the lynching go from the civil war to the time of my father’s maturity. Went to sleep wondering just how such brutality could exist in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.’

Took that thought to bed with me and awoke at 0400 with an answer. Life in the South never was easy for most men and women be they free or slave. The civil war ravaged the south in ways we could never appreciate.

The soldiers of the South did not have a supply line that was able to feed, cloth and arm them. They turned into a rag tag army that traveled on bare feet and guts alone. They fought in battles whose hallmark was pure human carnage.

In the north, the soldiers came home to homes and an infrastructure that thrived and grew on the war. In the south, the soldiers not only came home to an infrastructure that was destroyed but there was an army of occupation that turned their society upside down as well as communities that had been ravaged by war.

The men and women that did survive the war faced an economic challenge that would be dominated by forces bent on plowing them under. Carpetbaggers, scal·ly·wags, and an army of occupation proved to be as challenging and uncompromising as any battle field they ever fought.

The perception was that they would have to fight back with the only tools they had which were honed on the battlefields of the war. Their humanity, feelings and emotions were left on at such places as the Battle of Gettysburg , Battle of Chickamauga, Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of Spotsylvania, Battle of Stone’s River and Battle of Shiloh. The casualty count from these battles alone were over 189,000 dead and wounded. No matter how you slice and dice it, that is a lot of wounded and dead men from the two sides.

None of this makes it right but it is the culture, karma or heritage of the south. To understand the forces at play is the starting point of working with them.

It is easy to cast blame and dispersion on the violence in the south in an intellectual atmosphere. However, there is an experiential aspect that defies the intellect and is the force that manifests itself in totally unexpected ways.  This has to be dealt with because it is still alive in the minds of those that are the descendents of the battle fields of the civil war.

This is the culture, karma or heratage at play in the jails and prisons of the South. These are the forces in the minds of the inmates as well as the jailers. These are the forces that were at play for 108 years in the Dozier School that was closed by the feds.Feds End to Dozier school for Boys”

Can not help but think that the poem The Hollow Men by T.S. Elliot needs to be recast in its reference to the survivors of the battle fields of World War I the the hollow sons and grandsons of the the civil war that passed through the same purgatory as their fathers.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper
The Hollow Men<

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This entry was posted in Corruption, On the Road, Politics, Prison and Jails, The Journey, The Problem, Vigilante Justice, Vigilante Justice. Bookmark the permalink.

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