“Ah, sweet justice!” Not so fast. Fact is, justice is not always so even-handed in these United States, here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. There is justice for whites and the quasi-justice for others. Hannah and I have been fortunate leading a privileged life in America over our 70 years. I suspect being white had a little something, or make that a lot something, to do with it.
I have no idea what it must be like to be marginalized, threatened, and living in fear because of the color of my skin, be it black or brown; especially with threatening tweets descending like warning shots across the bow from the highest office in the land.
Let me back up and tell you how we found ourselves thinking about justice during our visit to Montgomery – the one-time poster child of cities for racial injustice.
Planning to visit Monroeville in southern Alabama, the home of Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Hannah read in Time magazine of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Alabama’s capital city, Montgomery, which would be on our way to Monroeville. The memorial is dedicated to the 4400 African-Americans lynched, almost entirely in the American South.
Montgomery has a history! You may remember or have read about the year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott in the mid-1950s sparked by Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, who was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white man. After a year long boycott, segregated buses were ruled unconstitutional; but full-fledged justice remains elusive for many non-whites.
Hannah and I have come to bear witness to these abhorrent times.
On our way to the Peace and Justice memorial this mid-October Thursday, we stop first at the nearby Civil Rights Memorial Center in downtown Montgomery honoring 44 victims of racial hatred and injustice.
Since the Civil Rights Memorial Center charges only $2 per person, it allows most everyone access to the displays and stories of these victims of injustice. In fact, it is so up-to-date that it includes a photo memorial to Heather Heyer, murdered by a domestic white nationalist terrorist in Charlottesville, VA in the summer of 2017.
We watch a short film about the courageous lives of these martyrs. The Memorial words and pictures below begin to tell their story.
Hannah and I add our names to the Wall of Tolerance at the Civil Rights Memorial
Walking ¾ of a mile in clean, uncluttered, friendly downtown Montgomery with the Alabama Capital as a backdrop, we come upon the National Memorial for Peace and Justice with its vertical black stone monuments to those lynched in America’s recent past. Again, priced reasonably at $5 per person, this memorial recounts another sordid chapter in America’s troubled racial history. The images below give you a peek into the power of this memorial.
So, has this visit to Montgomery changed me? Time well tell. Today, on a personal level, I reaffirm that I will treat everyone I meet with love. The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. – Brian Tracy
Further, Hannah and I voted in the mid-term elections of 2018; we donated to my childhood friend Tom Hallock’s Multiplier to support fifteen hotly contest house races (That seems to have worked as the Democrats thankfully flipped the House.). Further, we donated to the campaigns of Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Stacey Abrams in Georgia, and Andrew Gillum in Florida.
I will meditate further to learn what is mine to do. Stay tuned.