There is a worthwhile Diary up over at DKos (AKA the GOS) by attytood about Shirley Sherrod’s life story and details emerging that make what she has said and done pretty amazing. You may have heard that in 1965 her father, Hosie Miller, was killed by a white farmer over a cow. That it was rural Georgia in 1965 meant that nobody was ever charged with the crime.
As a result of his murder, his wife, Grace Hall Miller became a civil rights activist and turned his home into a center for organizing for justice and his daughter, Shirley Sherrod, decided to stay in the South and fight to make it a better place. It was this background that made her surprised when years later another white farmer came to her for help. Her speech was about her journey that overcame the climate of racism that killed her father and still infects so many today.
The Diary links to a 2007 letter written from the Southern Poverty Law Center that asked the FBI to investigate the unsolved murders of 74 African-Americans who, like Ms. Sherrod’s father, never had their killers brought to justice.
This letter (PDF) is worth a read. Here are just a few of the cases:
O’Quinn, Sam – Centreville, Miss., 1959
O’Quinn, derided by some local whites for being “uppity,” was shot after joining the NAACP.
Brazier, James – Dawson City, Ga., 1958
Brazier was beaten to death in front of his wife and children by two police officers. County Sheriff Z.T. Matthews was later quoted in the Washington Post saying, “There’s nothing like fear to keep niggers in line.”
Thomas, Freddie Lee – Batesville, Miss., 1965
Federal investigators looked into the death of Thomas, 16. Thomas’ brother believed he was murdered as a warning against black voter registration. The result of the investigation is unknown.
Daniels, Woodrow Wilson – Water Valley, Miss., 1958
Sheriff Buster Treloar, identified by four witnesses as the man who beat Daniels to death in a prison, was freed in 23 minutes by an all-white jury. “By God,” Treloar said after the trial. “Now I can get back to rounding up bootleggers and damn niggers.”
There are many more in the letter and hundreds, if not thousands, of more cases like the death of Hosie Miller that are still unresolved open wounds for family members.
Many of these racist murders may still be alive. Others got away with their crimes and lived a full life. The sad thing about these racists is that they breed and pass their hate down to their kin.
Nowadays the modern American racist hunts with a camera and a keyboard. They attack and then claim to be victims of abuse if anybody ever calls them out for their racism. Last week’s racist of the moment was Mark Williams of the Tea Party Express. This week’s douchebag of hate is Andy Breitbart.
It is not a surprise that both of these dickless cowards were moved to spasm of racism through their fear and hatred of the NAACP, a group that has been an ‘uppity’ threat in the eyes of racists since 1909.
The difference between Breitbart and Sheriff Z.T. Matthews or Sheriff Buster Treloar is very small. All are bullies who use the power they have to shape politics with fear and hate. Treloer and Matthews beat and murdered folks as those were the crimes that they were allowed to get away with. Breitbart lies, slanders and destroys lives as those are the crimes that folks let him get away with. It is time to stop tolerating racists like Williams and Breitbart.
And yet, these racists will continue to get a platform in our politics and in our media: in print, online, on radio and on the teevee. It is time to stop looking the other way and fight back. The only way to take these racists out of the game is to call them out on their shit no matter how much they deny it.
Andy Breibart is a racist and anybody who defends him is a supporter of hate.