From Emmett Till to George Floyd
Updated: Mar 11, 2021
We dedicate this post to Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery who represent some of the many people murdered by racially motivated violence, including through lynchings.
Black Lives Matter Protest, New York, NY photo by Renata Leguisamo
Protests led by the Black Lives Matter Movement flooded the streets of New York City throughout the summer. I assisted a couple of them and was moved by what I witnessed.
The march originated in Harlem. From a distance, I saw a huge mass of people holding signs waiting impatiently and as I approached I noticed that everyone was wearing facial protection. There were people distributing extra face masks, hand sanitizer, water, and snacks. We gathered around the statue of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. An older woman schooled a group of young people about the Civil Rights movement from the past century. People listened with attention and care. There was a big sense of community. By 12 o'clock there were hundreds of people peacefully marching from Harlem all the way down to Washington Square Park. People were chanting against violence and racism as well as songs of hope. There were entire families marching, people with their pets, with guitars, couples, and people on wheelchairs. Many joined from their windows and porches where they sang and clap in response to the marches.
Julian Holliday (1934-2008) was born in Clarendon County and took park on the desegregation efforts that took place in South Carolina. He was interviewed for "The Force of Ethics in Civil Rights" Oral History Project. This interview contained his heart wrenching narrative of hiding behind bushes as a little boy and witnessing his childhood friend lynched, never telling a soul until our interview 60 years later.
Julian Holliday for "The Force of Ethics in Civil Rights" Oral History Project interview
Pictured here is Emmett Till with his mother, Mamie Till Mobley before he was lynched at age 14. Filmmaker Keith Beauchamp, has devoted his life to telling the story and bringing the perpetrators to justice, and we are honored that he was interviewed for "The Force of Ethics in Civil Rights" Oral history project.
The lynching murder of Emmett Till and subsequent trial of his 2 white killers in 1956, ending with their acquittal by an all-white jury, were catalysts for the American civil rights movement.
The outcry resonates right now with protests and peaceful demonstrations here and around the world, after the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and so many others are bringing millions of people out to the streets asking for justice and an end to systemic racism. This is evidence of what Eli Siegel identified as "the force of ethics" working in the world and in people throughout history.
In 2000, Alice Bernstein wrote "The Genome and the Equality of Man" for newspapers nationwide and abroad, including in the International Guardian in England.
You can read the article here.
And read the groundbreaking issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, international periodical, https://aestheticrealism.net/tro/like-of-the-world-versus-racism/