By Frederick H. Lowe
A jury found Bill Cosby guilty of three counts of felony sexual assault a day after a museum that memorializes victims of white-terrorist lynchings opened in Montgomery, Alabama, and the timing is significant for me.
While women and others argue Cosby’s, conviction was the result of the #MeToo era, the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum is the result of the country’s rabid yet covered-up racist history that gives white women power of life and death over black men.
When a white woman points a finger at a black man, accusing him of sexual assault, he’s dead man walking although the accusation may be based on a lie.
Here is one example.
On June 15, 1920, a mob in Duluth, Minnesota, dragged Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie, employees of the John Robinson Circus, from their jail cells and lynched them for allegedly raping Irene Tusken, a 19-year-old, although Dr. David Graham’s examination of Tusken found no evidence of sexual assault.
The story about the lynchings is told in the 1979 book “The Lynchings in Duluth,” by Michael Fedo. A photo of the three men who had been lynched was made into postcards at the time and shown throughout Duluth. In 2003, Duluth dedicated a monument honoring the three.
Black men have been lynched for minor infractions involving white women. General Lee, a black man, was lynched in 1904 by a white mob in Reevesville, Ga., for knocking on the door of a white woman’s home.
Those incidents were long ago, but lynching has evolved into more deadly police shootings and mass incarnation of black men.
More than 4,400 black men, women and children were lynched by white terrorists between 1877 and 1950, according to the Equal Justice Initiative, which built the museum. EJI published a study of lynching in “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.”
I am not accusing Andrea Constand and the other women of lying about Cosby but knowing this country’s racist history when it comes to black men, I have very little confidence in the jury’s verdict because in this society black men are always considered guilty of something and women, both black and white, know that and it take advantage of the prevailing attitude.
I own a home across the street from a Whole Foods store in Chicago. Each time I walk in there to shop for groceries I am followed throughout the store by Hispanic security guards who consider me a thief.
Cosby was convicted of crimes I never would consider doing to women, but as a black man I know about the hate we face everyday.
I am also really angry at Cosby. How did he get into this mess, which will reflect on every black man. He went from America’s dad to America’s cad.
I didn’t have to be a member of the jury to know what many of them secretly thought of black men.