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Rosewood Incident - Essay Example

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Rosewood Incident: Stamps Redeemed (1,140 Words) When we know that during the five decades between 1880 and 1930, about five thousand blacks were estimated to have been lynched in the United States of America1, it makes a statement in itself about the hegemonic social condition existing at the time…
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Rosewood Incident
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Download file to see previous pages It just served as the immediate cause for the incident. To venture a little further, it was a pretext for the manifestation of malice and fury that were already in store. That the grand jury’s investigation ended up finding insufficient evidence to prosecute the persecutors adds insult to injury and establishes a clear case of racial chauvinism shamelessly creeping into the system of criminal justice. Had the crusade of people like Ida B Wells and Dyer for anti-lynching legislations been successful, probably the Rosewood tragedy could have been averted. It was less than a decade ago, in 2005, that the US Senate could approve a resolution of apology to lynching victims and survivors2 and, like a posthumous award, it poorly reflects on the commitment of previous federal governments towards the fundamental rights of its own citizens. It exposes the true historical legacy of a society and a nation that claim to have been conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. ____________ 1Ron Olson. US History (1865 – Present) From Reconstruction through the Dawn of the 21st Century (Franklin Lakes (NJ): The Career Press, 2007), 89. 2James D Unnever et al. A Theory of African American Offending Race, Racism and Crime (New York: Routledge, 2011), 43. With over 300 African Americans being brutally murdered, a whole community having become extinct and an entire town having been reduced to charred remains by appalling atrocities spread over a week’s time, the bone-chilling Rosewood pogrom continues to be an indelible stain on humanity. It had not been very long ago that the assistance of about a third of a million black men3 (who, however, were deemed unqualified for full citizenship) as soldiers was found acceptable in a so-called fight against the fascist powers, World War I. The alleged charge of the white woman’s rape was a dubious one because there was a version that attributed the root cause of the charge to an extra-marital affair. It goes on only to prove that the motive of the attacks had more to do with a xenophobic attitude and irrational animosity (towards blacks who were perceived as their tormentors) prevailing in the white community, which in turn were propagated by media propaganda and white supremacist doctrines. The incident deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms because it took for granted the truthfulness of a white woman’s statement by default, jut as it did in the case of Victoria Price and Ruby Bates versus nine black-youths4 in 1931. The people involved in the atrocities as well as the jury men were too quick to believe and too prejudiced to try to view facts objectively. It was a damage beyond compensation and reparation. Going by the dictum that justice delayed is justice denied, the $2.1 million compensation package5 announced by Florida state in 1994 to Rosewood survivors evokes no good feelings. Justice in the sense of bringing culprits to book alone can expiate a crime but not restitution. ____________ 3Walter C Rucker et al. Encyclopedia of American Race Riots (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2007), 1. 4Sr. William A James. The Skin Color Syndrome (Lincoln: iUniverse, 2003), 121. 5“Rosewood Tells Story”. Jet Magazine, 24 March 1997, 59. It must be viewed with concern that it took sixty years6 for the Rosewood horror to capture the nation’s attention fortuitously, thanks to Gary Moore’s initiative, and seventy years for a legislation to be made. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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