In June of 1998, three presumed white supremacists from Jasper, Texas severely beat and then murdered James Byrd, Jr. by tying him to a pick-up truck and dragging his body for miles. This incident has made the town infamous and, unfortunately, the racial divide continues to linger. According to a report in The New York Times, the city’s first African-American police chief has been fired by a predominantly white city council, prompting the former chief to take legal action and the NAACP to seek a federal investigation.
Even more shocking are the sentiments expressed by some of the town’s leaders.
Over lunch last week, during the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict's Fletcher Summer Institute, I had the chance to talk with civil rights movement leader James Lawson with a recorder on. It wasn't hard to get him going; he had been talking about organizing and nonviolence training all week.
[Editors' Note: Former state trooper James Bonard Fowler plead guilty this week to a misdemeanor manslaughter charge in the 1965 shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson in Alabama.
[Editor's Note: In anticipation of the anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, God's Politics will feature a series of posts on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.