I was hoping yesterday or today to post more developments in Tuskegee. There is not yet much more to report. Tuskegee had its mayoral election today (Tuesday), after which it may become easier for some people to speak to the situation more than they're willing to right now.
One of the people whom I've been talking to from that part of Alabama said, "it is a myth that the Civil Rights Movement changed the South." That there is so little press, so little information available is, in fact, one of the resemblances between this "New" South murder and "Old" South racist violence.
Carter's body was sent to the state crime lab to determine the cause of death. However, [Sheriff] Patrick said that from information his department has gathered about the case, he is leaning toward suicide.The Sheriff does not have the results back from the state crime lab, yet he is "leaning towards suicide." Why? Based on what evidence? This doesn't sound a whole lot different than stuff like this:
George [Green] was telling me that one time he was with the FBI and they went around and talked to some sheriffs down there in Neshoba County[, Mississippi]. They found this guy, pulled a guy out of the water. He had been shot 69 times in the back. The FBI asked the sheriff, what did he think happened. The sheriff shook his head and said, "This is the damnedest case of suicide I ever saw in my life."40 years ago in the South, the Klan, local and sate police and the FBI all worked hand in hand. Sometimes law enforcement made a point of simply looking the other way or obstructing proper investigations. Other times our agents of the law were the perpetrators themselves. It was a deep seated culture of hate and violence which has not been eradicated from all corners of today's law enforcement system.
A key piece of the struggle of activists against racist brutality has always been to get enough press to compel authorities, often at higher state or federal levels, to take action. In the 60s the US was fighting the Cold War against Communism. At that time media coverage of racist violence embarrassed the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. What kind of holy democratic alternative to communism was this if brutal, repressive racism was part of the American way of life?
Today we have the War on Terror and the war in Iraq, both in the name of our American freedoms, and we have a similar set of contradictions. We are losing freedoms in the name of freedom. A generation of young people is killing untold numbers of Iraqis and sacrificing their own lives in the name of our freedom and to stop terrorism. Meanwhile, America continues to brand its own sick forms of terror for use against its own citizens. As Scott B. put it, it's just "another kind of hell in a different period of time."
As it was before, the task now is to expose the contradictions until no more evasions and excuses are possible. I hope all who check here for developments in this case will wait attentively with me.
All honor is due to the person who called in on WKXN's radio talk show to report Winston Deroyal Carter's death and to the individuals in Alabama and elsewhere who are working to achieve justice for him.
Many thanks to the bloggers, listed below, who blogged the death of Winston Deroyal Carter, either at my request or on their own volition. There may be some folks missing from the list; if you've blogged my post on Tuskegee and I don't have your blog here, drop me a line with the link. Thanks also to all the live journalers who've been passing this around and thanks to the folks who've been spreading this on their discussion boards.
Alas, A Blog
Body And Soul
Cincinnati Black Blog
My Friday-to-Sunday Life
The Oregon Commentator
The Poison Kitchen
Professor Kim's News Notes
Update (8/31/04):I just discovered that I missed Kevin's post at The American Street. I've been grateful for Kevin's expressions of concern in my comments and in email and for his help inside and outside the blogosphere.
Update (9/8/04): Erin at Lefties Unite picked up the Winston Carter case on her blog last week. Like Kevin, she's been doing some nice extrablogispatic publicity work as well.
Additional note (9/8/04): I had accidentally hit the wrong button on Ecto and posted today's update to this post as new post, which appeared at the top of the blog for an hour or two. Only I didn't understand precisely what happened, at first, and posted an erroneous explanation of what I'd done. This is my original post with updates and additional note added. Sorry for the confusion and for what havoc this may have wreaked on your rss readers. --BG