My fellow field hands, I will not be chasing racism tonight. Instead, I want to congratulate the people of Rock Hill, South Carolina, for confronting their racist past, acknowledging it, and taking the necessary steps to correct a historic wrong.
We need more of this in America. Just watching the people and their actions in that courtroom today said volumes.
More stories like this will make this jaded field Negro take another look at his outlook on racial matters in this country, and it will make him take a less misanthropic and cynical view of all such matters as it relates to our current society.
"Local prosecutor Kevin Brackett, who helped initiate the motion to clear their names, apologized to the men and said they deserved to be recognized as heroes.
He noted they did not want their arrests to be erased from public documents because they felt it was important that their actions be remembered.
"There is only one reason these men were arrested ... and that is because they were black," Brackett said. "It was wrong then, it’s wrong today."
Graham, 72, said after Wednesday's hearing that the group sought no "hero worship," either in 1961 or now.
"It wasn’t for any glory," he said. "We were simply ... students who were tired of the status quo, tired of being treated as second-class citizens."
Their case offers a lesson to young people in the ongoing fight for equality, a struggle not lost on the men, he said.
"Even though we were treated unjustly, still nonviolence prevailed," Graham said. "You think we’re going to sit down and rest now? No, no, no. We’ve got to lead by example." [Source]
The "Friendship Nine", like so many others who fought against injustice at the time, deserved better.
I am just glad that they are finally getting the treatment they deserve from the justice system and the people of South Carolina.
Finally, a few days ago Louis Gohmert was so upset about the president having the audacity to mention race in his SOTU address, that he found it necessary to call out the president for being a racial "divider". He then went on to lament the fact that the president wasn't a uniter like his high school coach.
The folks at the Huffington Post --and some others--- assumed that he was referring to his high school basketball coach. Turns out, there was no such black high school basketball coach at the time, and Mr. Gohmert was forced to amend his statement.
"I am amazed that simply mentioning ‘my favorite coach in high school who happened to be black’ caused liberals to start asking about my high school ‘basketball’ coach. I did not mention the sport, but it happened to be my Junior Varsity FOOTBALL coach. I was a captain, played quarterback, thought the world of Coach Williams and loved the way he brought everyone together as a team."
OK, so here is the thing, as most of you know I am not a journalist; I am a lawyer. But something about this story bothers me a little bit. I am not saying that there couldn't be a black JV football coach at a public East Texas high school in 1969, 70, or 71; but let's just say that I have to get the Missouri treatment with this one: You have to show me.
I took it on myself to call the Mount Pleasant (Texas) Tribune, and I spoke to the sports editor of the paper. Since Mr. Gohmert attended Mount Pleasant High School, I wanted to know from the paper of record in that town if there was in fact an African America coach named Williams who coached the JV football team in the late nineteen sixties or early seventies.
The fellow was kind enough and he took my number. He also said that he would be getting back to me shortly. That was almost a week ago and I have still not heard from my friend from Texas.
Now again, I am not saying that Mr. Gohmert is
If any of you happen to see a link proving that there is in a fact a Coach Williams, please provide it in a comment after this post.
Hopefully he is still alive. I would love to speak to him to see what kind of teammate young Louie was.