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  • Daryl Johnson

FROM THE TREE TO THE KNEE


"Southern trees bear

a strange fruit

Blood on the leaves

and blood at the root

Black bodies swinging

in the southern breeze

Strange fruit hanging

from the poplar trees."

Sung by Billie Holiday in 1939, “Strange Fruit” was written by Abel Meeropol to protest the lynchings of Black Americans.

Murdering Black people has been a source of entertainment When looking at old pictures you would think it is as American as apple pie and cotton. Lynchings were woven into the psyche of White Americans. Picnics and lynchings were entertainment at the expense of Black Americans A 1930 editorial from the Raleigh News and Observer described it best, “Whole families came together, mothers and fathers, bringing even their youngest children. It was the show of the countryside – a very popular show.” White men of my generation, as children, sat on the shoulders of their fathers and grandfathers watching Black bodies swing from sturdy boughs, while the city photographer captured the moment to publish in the city newspaper. Today, They are still being “entertained” by the lynchings of our people by the millions of cellphone photographers and videographers displaying this horrendous crime. Just recently, on two separate occasions, Black men have been found hanging from trees in California.

The history of the police started with good ole white folk catching runaway slaves and through several mutations, developed into a fully funded militaristic type organization. This funding now sits at $100 billion for policing with an additional $80 billion for incarceration. Let those numbers sink in for a minute.

While you think about those numbers let me tell you how many older white Americans that I know personally think. My neighbors, ages between 60 and 80, both believe that even though Trump is an asshole, he’s doing a good enough job to keep him in office. Some believe that even though he is an embarrassment to white America, and Black America, he is still good enough to keep in office. with no consideration of how he is affecting race relations. Supported by the KKK, this President promotes division so to my neighbors Black Lives Don’t Matter, only the ones they know.... Maybe?

Hate crimes against African Americans is an ongoing fight that we are subjected to. The history of racist ideas can be traced back to the 1400s. In the book by Ibram X Kendi, STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING, to paraphrase, white Spaniards wanted to take the trade routes of Muslims because they were envious of the success Muslims were enjoying. Fast forward a few hundred years and you get Rosewood and Tulsa.

Now let’s think about all the old ass politicians that are still in place and how their policies continue to reflect and perpetrate an oppressive state for African Americans. In my mind, there will be a continued pace to maintain the status quo even after we do all this protesting, unless we vote. Elections have consequences. I am proud to say and stand with young socially conscious Americans “No Justice No Peace”.

Don’t let these images and videos of us being killed be entertainment. Instead know that the photos are here for all to see the deadly truth of the past, still prevails. What shall we do? Be unafraid! Be vocal and vote! To avoid long lines Call and request your mail in Ballot.

“I’m a young black man/ doing all that I can/ to stand,” Keedron sings in the video. “Oh, but when I look around/ and I see what’s being done to my kind/ every day, I’m being hunted as prey/ My people don’t want no trouble/ We’ve had enough struggle/ I just want to live/ God, protect me/ I just want to live/ I just want to live.” written by Johnetta Bryant, song by Keedron Bryant

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