You have seen many things, but you do not observe them; your ears are open, but none hears. Isaiah 42:20
By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
The past few weeks have been eye opening experiences for some and blinding ones for others. Our prayers are extended to ALL those who have been touched by the actions and the tormented expressions of the hurt felt when there seems to be no way out and no love for the unjustly treated seen through the eyes of the hopeless.
When those who put on the uniforms to protect and to serve become victims of behaviors that have gone unchecked and unnoticed succumb to the feelings of those who have been regulated to invisibility, society is weakened. The outcome of such belief is shown in the faces of the families of both the victims and the perpetrators, with expressions of disdain, disgust and disbelief.
We have taken a page from Jet magazine to show others how debilitating violence is on both sides of the weapon and how it can spread like wildfire to those who did not initiate it but sat by watching, being mesmerized by its alluring power until it began to burn them and theirs.
The story of Emmett Till (July 25, 1941 – Aug. 28, 1955) was told to the world through Jet magazine and other publications. He was only 14 when he was lynched in Mississippi. His death was pivotal in igniting the Civil Rights Movement.
As horrible as the crime was, to see the photos of young Emmett Till lying in his coffin was just as shocking.
His mutilated body was laid in an open coffin at the instructions of his mother.
His corpse was recovered but was so disfigured that Mose Wright, Till’s great uncle, could only identify it by an initialed ring. Authorities wanted to bury the body quickly, but Till’s mother, Mamie Bradley, requested it be sent back to Chicago. After seeing the mutilated remains, she decided to have an open-casket funeral so that all the world could see what racist murderers had done to her only son. Jet, an African American weekly magazine, published a photo of Emmett’s corpse, ghastly yes; however it opened what appeared to be millions of closed eyes.
Less than a few weeks after Emmett’s body was buried, the two accused white men, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam, went on trial in a segregated courthouse in Sumner, Miss. There were few witnesses besides Mose Wright, who positively identified the defendants as Emmett’s killers. On Sept. 23, the all-white jury deliberated for less than an hour before delivering a verdict of “not guilty,” with the explanation they supposed the state had unsuccessfully demonstrated the identity of the body. Many people around the country were irritated by the judgement and also by the state’s decision not to indict Milam and Bryant on the separate charge of kidnapping.
The Emmett Till murder trial forced the world to take a closer look at the brutality of Jim Crow segregation in the South which led to the motivation of the African American Civil Rights Movement.
The past actions of a few weeks have reopened the eyes and the wounds of deep rooted hatred and prejudice.
With some similarities of today, there were those who were supposed to have been upholding the law for the equal rights of all and yet they turned a blind eye to justice coupled by outside influences of those in power.
When we sit back and do nothing and just watch how justice becomes ‘just them’, we perpetually paralyze a system that can work into one that only works for those who…
If you can look upon the past few weeks and it does not concern you-then I guess you can’t look towards the future with hope.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.” Ephesians 1:18-19 (NASB)
Your eyes are the windows of your soul—“The idea is that when we look into someone’s eyes, we can see their soul—who they really are. But this goes the other way as well: when we look out of our eyes, we are seeing with our souls, but we are seeing through a framework—a window frame, if you will—that limits what we see.”