Originally published 6.7.10
I was just 19 years old when it happened but by that time I understood the racial dynamics of the United States.
Today marks the 12th anniversary of the dragging murder of James Byrd, Jr., in Jasper, Texas. On June 7, 1998, three White males wrapped a heavy chain around his ankles, connected the chain to a pickup truck, and then dragged Byrd for several miles. The dragging resulted in Byrd losing his arms and his head. The three murderers dumped Byrd’s mutilated remains in front of a cemetery and then went to enjoy some barbecue. Yes, barbeque.
I had to rehearse that history for the young people who may read this blog and know nothing about James Byrd. However, they only have to check the latest news wires to read about an alleged “Jasper-style” dragging that just took place last week in South Carolina.
An Associated Press headline reads “SC police: Black man shot to death, body dragged”. According to the story:
Two men who worked at a South Carolina poultry processing plant had spent most of the day together Tuesday, hanging out late into the evening, maybe rehashing their long shifts. By the next morning, one of the men – who was black – was dead, shot to death and then dragged behind a pickup truck for more than 10 miles down a country road. The other – a white man – was in jail, charged with murder, and authorities were investigating the death as a possible hate crime.
This is not 1810…..this is in 2010.