Part Three – Conclusion
|From Moore's Ford Lynching|
In the interest of fairness I want to address a few issues that cause some turmoil around these reenactments. The first is the strange call for accuracy. A number of people thing that the reenactment is inaccurate, but the presenters know full well that there is not a valid account of the murders. If there were then the perpetrators would have at least been tried. If you rail about inaccuracy then you probably know something and should assist the authorities to finding justice. Aside from the actual shooting, they point to the story of Dorothy Malcom’s pregnancy as being apocryphal. Laura Wexler, who wrote the definitive book on the subject, Fire in a Canebrake, as well as her family members disagree with this stance. The presenter of the reenactment claims that he was told of the pregnancy by the funeral director Dan Young. This idea is even recorded, using the word “reportedly” on the historical marker. Those who believe the story even gave the child a name a few years ago, fittingly, it was “Justice Malcom.” To those who object to this story, I say who really cares if she was pregnant or not? Does it make the crime of murdering four people better? As if somehow, a person might think I can live with you accusing me of murder, but don’t you dare label me an abortionist. Albeit if it were true, it would add a fifth lost soul to the mix. If the idea gets you riled, I think that’s the point. They want you to come forward and set the record straight. If I were making stuff up, I would do a lot more than just have the one girl pregnant. I might go with the one report that had the Klansmen having sex with children, animals, and other men in a bloodlust frenzy. You can’t tell me it didn’t happen, unless you know something and should come forward for the sake of justice.
The second thing to note is that this is not the last lynching in history. We already talked about Lynn McKinley Jackson’ s story at Roger Malcom’s gravesite. I was also told the story of Fredrick Jermaine Carter, who appears to have been lynched way back in December of 2010. Sure, this wasn’t Georgia, but rather Mississippi, and it was ruled a suicide, but it has all the earmarks of good old fashioned mob justice. These stories make us all understand the importance of remembrance. We need to be vigilant against the atrocities that mankind is capable of so that we can minimize, stop, or prevent the darkest side on the human soul from gaining control. I would be nice to think this American problem of lynching has been solved, but you would be kidding yourself.
The final thing is probably the most scary to me, personally. I’ll start by addressing the most frequently asked question: “If Dorothy, Mae, Roger and George were shot, why is it called a lynching?” A lynching can mean the hanging of a human by rope from a tree and that may be the most common form of these murders, but in a more general sense it means putting someone to death without legal means, most often by a mob. That was the case in the Moore’s Ford murders. The thing that scares me is the lynch mob mentality I see around us every day. And it’s more than a black and white problem. We sit a mere month out of this big Casey Anthony trial in Florida, and although acquitted, I’ve heard more than one person say she should be killed. It’s a running meme on the internet to get Dexter and Casey introduced. The comedians are joking about her guilt without regard to the justice system. But a day like last Saturday helps me realize that the very same passions and rage which stopped the car at the Moore’s Ford Bridge, which led to the shooting death of four black people, are the same passions we kindle today. We must learn to not just love justice, but to respect it. To understand that the trial by jury is the seed from which all democracy and freedoms grew, planted in the Magna Charta centuries past. If we can’t respect Justice in our community, then we no longer have a community and have digressed to the worst possible outcome of democracy: Mob Rule.