By H. J. Harris, author of “Solving The Race Issue In America.”
We were taught that the term “Killing Field” applied to mass killings in Cambodia during the era of the Vietnam War. The Khmer Rouge regime – the Communist Party – killed and buried millions of citizens.
The trial of George Floyd’s murderer reminds the world that black men and women may be killed with impunity by some of those who are supposed to protect and serve. The defendant’s attorney is asking the jurors and the world to ignore their eyes and close their ears as witnesses to this crime against humanity.
Many citizens fear that the cancer of racism and hate is deep in the soul of America and the hearts of some Americans. This concern is very real.
We remember the filmed beating of Rodney King in California. Police officers beat Rodney King with night sticks, kicked him, punched him while he was helpless on the ground. The jurors in the Rodney King case acquitted three of the officers and could not reach a verdict on the fourth officer. They chose to close their eyes and ears to the truth and facts shown in the video. No one was held accountable for the assault on Rodney King by those who were supposed to protect and serve.
History shows that America has long been a killing field for black Americans.
From the birth of this nation through the end of the civil war, white Americans had absolute authority over the life and death of black Americans. The US Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857) essentially ruled that a black American had no rights that the US Courts are bound to respect.
In other words, life and death of black Americans was at the whims and fancies of the white Americans in power.
God only knows how many black men and women have been killed from the birth of this nation through the end of the Civil War. A slave who would not be broken was at the peril of being killed. One who was disrespectful, or unruly, or attempted to run away could be killed at will of his master. When a slaves’ so-called bad behavior outweighs his or her property value to the master, consequences could be deadly. To the slave master, a slave was property, not requiring respect as a human being.
There is extensive documentation on the number of black men and women who were hanged by white people in America. Quoting from pages 12 – 13 of “Solving The Race Issue In America” (www.solvingtheraceissue.com):
“More than 73 percent of lynchings in the post-Civil War period occurred in the Southern states. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, 4,084 African Americans were lynched between 1877 and 1950 in the South. (Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror (Report) (3rd ed.). Montgomery, Alabama: Equal Justice Initiative.)
This “official” number of lynchings is very conservative since many lynchings of black Americans were never reported. Lynchings were often led by upstanding, prominent Christian white men who had black men and women hung from trees, their bodies burned, mutilated, and dismembered—often on hot Sunday afternoons, after church and prayer….
Lynching in America was a ritual of interracial social control and sadistic sport rather than simply a punishment for a crime.”
Based on the above figures, a black person was hung every 9 days for 73 years from 1877 through 1950. For black Americans, on the issue of hanging – America has indeed been a killing field.
Consider the murders of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Emmett Till, Viola Liuzzo, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and other freedom fighters – known and unknown. To these victims of racism and hate, America is a killing field.
When we consider the long list of black people who died at the hands of police over the last few years, the results are revealing:
* According to a CBS news report of September 10, 2020, 164 black people were killed by police in the first 8 months of 2020.
* According to The Washington Post article updated April 17, 2021, 982 people have been shot and killed by police in the last year. Black people are killed by police at twice the rate of white people. Yet black people make up only 13% of the U. S. Population.
As the jury deliberates in the trial of George Floyd’s killer, the names of other black people who died at the hands of police comes to mind. Where is the justice for them?
America is a killing field for the many black people who died at the hands of police – among them: George Floyd, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Duante Wright, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Tamir Wright, and a list too long to include in this writing.
Where does this all lead?
Will America continue to be a killing field for black men and women?
Will the jury in the case against George Floyd’s killer accept the shallow, hollow attempts by the defense to explain the unexplainable?
Will these jurors deny the truth of what their eyes have seen, and their ears have heard and let George Floyd’s killer go free?
Or will these jurors watch, hear, and feel the suffering and death of George Floyd – so vividly shown in the trial? Will they see it for what it is – the murder of another black man on a killing field in Minneapolis.
Is America truly the city on hill endowed with God’s abundant blessings?
Or are we the killing field in which truth, justice, and humanity are buried?
America can send a powerful message to the world that crimes against humanity will be punished.
The jury is out.
The world is watching.
Time will tell who we really are as a nation.
© Copyright 2021 LifeSkill Institute, Inc., P.O. Box 302, Wilmington, NC 28402
Learn more about “Solving The Race Issue In America” and contact
Dr. Herbert (H J) Harris at: www.solvingtheraceissue.com
Email: [email protected] Phone: 800-570-4009About the author: Dr. Harris personally experienced the Civil Rights era of the 1950’s and 1960’s. He attended the 1963 March on Washington, observed and heard Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Monument. Harris has been a keen observer, recorder, interviewer, and participant at pivotal moments of the racial evolution of America.