March 25th To The Black Blogger
The Black Blogger Reflects On March 25th
Ida B. Wells, Olen Montgomery, Clarence Norris, Ozie Powell, Haywood Patterson, Willie Robertson, Charles Weems, Andrew Wright, Leroy Wright, Eugene Williams, and John Hope Franklin are eleven names linked forever in the annals of black history in this nation. They are linked together in the bonds of revelations of injustice pursued by a segregationist nation. Can you think of how these eleven names are aligned in our people’s quest for universal, unmitigated justice?
You see two of those persons cataloged the stories of a nation of colored people shunned and terrorized simply for being of a different hue. Those two marvelous people Ida B. Wells and John Hope Franklin both joined the eternal realm of everlasting glory eighty-six years apart on March the 25th. Ida B. Wells who passed on March 25, 1931, staked her life’s purpose as well as her actual ability to live and breath by personally revealing the horrors of violence inflicted on people of color in this nation. If not for Ida B. Wells’s tenacity and force of indomitable will so much of the terror that black people faced by the long arm of sadistic hate would never have been uncovered. It was Ida B. Wells who unleashed her will to force a nation to see the horrific nature of the lynch rope, the inhumanity of pure race hatred, and the extreme ugliness of white mob violence. Ida B. Wells may have been small in stature by she was a mighty woman of absolute virtue. Who wouldn’t back down from a fight against injustice? You bring the fight to Ida B. Wells no matter your position of power. You had better except a direct confrontation because Ida B. Wells fought with the might of right.
Eighty-six years later on March 25, 2009, Dr. John Hope Franklin who so eloquently wrote and spoke the story of a black race of people. This mighty cataloger of our people’s magnificent, gallant, and glorious struggle for equality and justice passed on to his glory. To stake the claim to an uplifting tomorrow, and many tomorrows that follow one’s people must have the guts and glory of the historical tracking of their past ancestors. Without that understanding, a race of people is hellbent to never benefits from the lessons learned by those experiences. How one tells that story in a relevant, easy to digest, and comprehensible manner is the key to delivery those lessons learned and a lesson taught. Dr. John Hope Franklin dedicated his life to ensuring that every person no matter his race, ethnicity, or religion has a clear visualized story of the Black Americans experience in molding this nation. The fact that Dr. Franklin was alive during some of the most critical periods of our experience made his stories so much more enlightening. I would know that every black person should delve deep into a better understanding of how Dr. John Hope Franklin drew upon historical primary and secondary sources to write the glorious history of an America that was bettered immeasurably by its black inhabitants. If you don’t get the truth revealed you are captured by the falsities of lies that bind you intellectually. Ida and John spread those messages of truth when it was a dangerous deal to work in those elements.
Funny that on the day that Ida B. Wells died the story of injustice for nine young black boys and men was began in the small Alabama town of Scottsboro, Alabama. These nine young black men came to be known as the Scottsboro Nine. They included Olen Montgomery, Clarence Norris, Ozie Powell, Haywood Patterson, Willie Robertson, Charles Weems, Andrew Wright, Leroy Wright, and Eugene Williams. They were falsely accused of raping two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, on a freight train in northern Alabama. In actuality, these men were simply caught in a web of racial hatred and bigotry because of the color of their skins. The oldest of the Scottsboro Nine was 20 years of age Charlie Weems, and the youngest were Eugene Williams and Leroy Wright both 13 years of age. They each hopped on that train seeking a path to a better life and each ended up snared by the injustice of skin color. 1931 was America was in the midst of an economic depression so opportunities were limited for most Americans. For young blacks opportunities were null and void in America especially in the Jim Crow South. For sure Ida B. Wells would’ve have taken up the fight for the Scottsboro Nine had she not passed on the day of these accusations. The Scottsboro case wasn’t truly settled until 4 decades late when Clarence Norris was finally pardoned on October 25, 1976, by the state of Alabama. However, all of these men’s lives were severely and negatively affected by this case of injustice and false accusations.
So on this March 25, 2018, I look back on the lives of these eleven individuals who sacrificed everything. In order that our black communities could have some measure of equality in this nation still torn apart because of a person’s skin color.