The people who suffered these things—Mary and Hayes Turner, Ell Persons, Jesse Lee Bond, and far, far too many others—were Americans. They were born here. They were citizens. They, and their survivors, were entitled to the same due process under law that you or I would expect. And they did not receive it. The acts they suffered were criminal, and justice has yet to be done. In many cases, the criminal nature of the acts hasn’t even been formally acknowledged.
A Life of Truth
One of the most beautifully disturbing questions we can ask is whether a given story we tell about our lives is actually true, and whether the opinions we go over every day have any foundation or are things we repeat to ourselves simply so that we will continue to play the game. It can be quite disorienting to find that a story we have relied on is not only not true - it actually never was true. Not now, not ever. ~ David Whyte
December 23, 2020
From the President of the Board of the Lynching Sites Project:
In his 1962 bestseller The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin wrote that “whatever white people do not know about (Black people) reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves.”
Over the past eighteen months, in several significant ways, I have continued to learn about the culture of white privilege and superiority in which I was raised and have lived all my life. My Black sisters and brothers keep teaching me about this.
On October 10, 1905, a human life was taken from chronicles of time. Robbed of divine purpose by a cowardly pack. A soul of a Man, anchor of a family, providence of a community, and The potential of Our Nation has been forgotten. No remnants of his impact. No grave, No glory, No gesture of Justice from the body politic...The Sun continued to rise and set amidst the decaying lifeless body placed in the ground…. A seed crying out for justice refuses to sprout..The deafening tyranny of terror has hardened the topsoil of Our hearts….And We All remain buried...
On the occasion of his final presentation as executive director of LSP Memphis, I wanted to add my voice to the continuing chorus of accolades for his outstanding service to this deeply important work. I can think of no one who stands higher in my humble regard than John Ashworth. He brings to this work a zeal and seriousness that does not allow one to ignore the truth to which he bears relentless witness. He is an ever flowing fountain of inspiration and stimulation. He never speaks without divulging pertinent and timeless truth.
As I have absorbed the horrors of the latest lynching of a black person by allegedly frightened white people, I have tried to give words to a thought that has been percolating for me for some time – which is, as black people arrived on these shores in chains, and have been brutalized, oppressed and subjugated ever since, and are a minority in America – what is the basis of this white irrational fear of the black body?