Today, on the Living Legacy Pilgrimage, our group visited the grave and memorial of Fannie Lou Hamer. The daughter of a sharecropper in the Mississippi Delta, she attempted to vote at age 45 in 1962; for this, she and her family were deposed from their home and she was jailed and beaten. Two years later, this resilient woman spoke on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party for the right of African Americans to participate at the Democratic National Convention.
In 1955, when Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago, flirted with a white Mississippi woman, he was brutalized and murdered. With resilience, his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, insisted that her son’s casket lid be open at his funeral; his shot and mutilated face and cleaved skull were viewed by 10,000 people.
In the 1960s, segregationists wanted Negroes to be shipped back to Africa. In post-election 2016, President-elect Donald Trump says he intends to ban Muslims and Mexicans from America.
Which resilient legacy will define our nation today: racist/religious hatred or inalienable human rights?
Who has greater resiliency: modern segregationists or those who wear safety pins as a symbol of support for the vulnerable?
-- by Robert M Weir
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