Where are We Now? Remembering the Last Publicized Lynching in America

1981-lynching-of-michael-donald

Greetings all and welcome to the first blog of 2017 for the You Have the Right to Remain Informed.  The United States is getting ready to embark on a major transformation with the change of the Presidential Administration.  Today’s post features guest blogger Tammy Holt who shares a very personal story from her childhood in the Deep South.  Pay attention as we cannot allow history to repeat itself.

This has been a story hidden deeply in my memory bank since I was a little girl.  I remember living in Mobile, Alabama, and being told I could not go outside because a man’s body was hanging from a tree.  Of course, I blocked it out, but I always wondered was it really true or was it something that I remembered ‘incorrectly’, or did I dream it?

We stayed off Dearborn Street, a few streets over from Herndon.  The long story short is this young man was killed and hung by the KKK.  The KKK was mad that another black man was not convicted of killing a white police officer (the case was a mistrial).  So, in retaliation of the verdict, the KKK saw Michael Donald (I never knew his name) on the street, kidnapped, hung and cut his throat.  A gruesome murder.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Michael_Donald

This ties into current day news with Senator Sessions and his hearings for Attorney General.  He was on the team for the prosecuting attorney’s office back then.  I was reading up on all the issues surrounding him and his racial comments and found his connection to this case.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/12/02/jeff-sessionss-comments-on-race-for-the-record/?utm_term=.c6bcb8471c8d

In that Washington Post article (to give you the down and dirty), Sessions went all the way around and back again, saying he said some things, didn’t say others, said some things were taken out of context…yadda, yadda, yadda….my final opinion:  it’s between him and God.

But, I just wanted to share this information…you just never know how things in our lives will come full circle or how the news applies directly (or indirectly) to us.  I’m glad I can put some closure on this memory, but angered by the evil in this world.

I thank Tammy for having the courage to share her story and I leave you with this brief thought.  If the aim is to make America great again, does that mean that we have to go back to times such as these to achieve that goal?  I truly hope not.  As my friend Tammy has said before, “to be great, you have to be a servant.”  Thus, it is our hope and prayer that Sessions and the rest of new Administration will serve all people remembering equity and fairness.  As when you do right, we all benefit, grow, and evolve in the greatness God intended for us.

Be safe,

L.J.
Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213
Check out what’s new in 2017 at www.ljsamuel.com

#race #racism #raceinamerica #1981 #lynching #MichaelDonald #Alabama #deepsouth #hate #love #black #white #civilrights #trial #Senator #JeffSessions #fear #light #healing #change #makeamericagreat #administration #crime #violence #criminals #justice #criminaljusticesystem #courtsystem #2017 #ljsamuel #cupidssting

Image source: https://www.pinterest.com/MetaRonin/black-history-americas-biggest-secret/

 

 

The Truth about Domestic Violence

dv-threat-picture

(Source: http://www.havenhousefsc.com)

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), approximately 33% of women have been victims of domestic violence.  This figure is misleading as it is based on official reports.  Many victims do not come forward for fear of greater violence.   If the 33% figure does not resonate with you, let me put it this way- your sister, mother, friend, cousin, co-worker, mentor, teacher, or loved one has probably been abused at some point in her life.  She has been pushed, punched, slapped, yelled at, demeaned, and threatened by the person she calls ‘partner.’  That’s not true, you say?  They would have told you, right?  They didn’t even tell the police.

After the smoke cleared, they picked themselves up off the floor and washed the tears off their face, put peroxide on their wounds, left a message for their boss to let them know they would not be at work the next day, then proceeded to make their abuser dinner so that he would not get angry again.

The truth is that this crime is being perpetrated in households all across the United States.  Domestic violence does not discriminate.  Whether you live in the most expensive house or public housing, violence may very well knock at your door.  Rich or poor, black or white, Christian or Muslim, gay or straight, domestic violence knows no bounds.  And so the victim puts on her mask and follows her script as society expects her to do.

For those of us on the outside, we think that if we were ever violated by a husband, boyfriend, or partner, we would never stay.  I can just hear it now.  “Girl, if he ever puts his hands on me, that’s it!  I’m walking away!”  Easier said than done.  Many women do not walk away.  One must first understand the psyche of victims to understand why.  The reasons are many.  Perhaps she does not have the courage to leave due to low self-esteem.  Maybe she is a stay at home mom and leaving means a loss of financial support and living in a shelter.  Then there are feelings of embarrassment.  Leaving means admitting to the outside world that she failed at her relationship and ‘allowed’ her man to hit her.  Then there is fear.  A large number of abused women are stalked by their partners while they are together and/or after they leave their abuser.  But there is constant fear that their abuser will find them and kill them because they had the courage to leave.  And lastly, there is love.  You loved him enough to stay ‘I do’ or remain in a relationship with him or raise a family together.  These are all extremely complex reasons so we cannot easily judge the actions of victims.  What we can do is support the victim and offer help.  We can increase our awareness of this terrible issue so that we know the signs if a friend or loved one is being victimized.

If a victim is scared to call the police, there are other resources available.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline for example, may be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).  The Centers for Disease Control also has many resources.  Their website is: www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention.

Be a good friend.  Don’t turn your back because you never know when you may need the same.

Be safe,

L.J.
Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#domesticviolenceawarenessmonth #domesticviolence #intimatepartnerviolence #violence #stopdv #itendsnow #nomeansno #pain #safety #justice #support #assistance #help #abuse #victim #victimization #truth #police #interpersonalviolence #cupidssting #ljsamuel

References

Barnett, O.W & LaViolette, A.D.  (1993).  It could happen to anyone: Why battered women stay.       Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2014).  Understanding intimate partner violence        fact sheet.  Washington, DC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Follingstad, D., Runge, M., Ace, April, Buzan, Robert, & Helff, Cindy.  (2001).  Justifiability,      sympathy level, and internal/external locus of the reasons battered women remain in abusive      relationships.  Violence and Victims, 16 (6), 621-644.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  (2014).  Domestic violence fact sheet.       Colorado: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

 

 

 

 

 

Where do we go from here?

image

(Source: Lorena O’Neal, http://www.esquire.com)

I am a black woman. I love my black men. But that does not mean I hate white men or Asian women, or Latino men. Another label I wear is criminologist. I study crime, I work with the police, I seek justice when there is wrongdoing. So I am grappling with how to articulate my feelings over the events of the past two days. Numb? So much sadness. Over what? Hate. At first I thought that race was the underlying factor but I’m not so sure anymore. We have gotten to a point where we no longer respect human life no matter the outer shell. One act does not condone another. Are we not better than that? We have to be. Or is this the beginning of our own self aniliation?

I know some are going to argue that this is history repeating itself but the Lord says “vengeance is mine.” Therefore, it is not ours. To cheer the murder or five Dallas police officers who were simply doing their job is shameless. Not one of them was responsible for taking the life of Alton Sterling or Philando Castile.  I get it. There is a feeling of helplessness but how can this be a solution? A violent response will only increase the violence directed at the very group you mourn for. This is not the way. We are all hurting. Deeply. A generational hurt. But black people are a resilient people so we must figure out a way (yes we have been here before) to heal and figure out a solution that goes beyond DOJ canned responses that breaks through the blue barrier where a respect and appreciation for all life is the starting point of where the police operate from. If not, there will be more death, more violence, more hate, more crying, more arguing, and no change.  And we will continue on this hamster wheel of violence, death, and destruction.

Be safe,

L.J.

Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#police #policeviolence #policeshootings #blackmen #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #Louisiana #Minnesota #policeaccountabilty #policereform #peace #protest #DallasPolice #peacefulprotest #blacklivesmatter #bluelivesmatter #alllivesmatter #hope #change #love

The Woman Card

Woman Card.jpg

This past week Donald Trump made a speech where he stated that Hilary Clinton is playing the ‘woman card.’ All I could do was laugh. It was a very dainty and feminine laugh mind you as after all, I am a woman. What on earth is a woman card and at what point did it get easy being a woman in society? Only a woman can understand how hard it is to live in and navigate through a place and moment in time that still favors men. And for those women working in a male dominated field, the pressure and challenges are even greater. If you are too assertive, then you are labeled a b*#$h or your sexuality is questioned. If you are quiet then you may be seen as a pushover. If a man harasses you and management is alerted, it is quite possible that you could be ostracized and not viewed as a team player. No more did this ring true but in the tragic case of Fairfax County Firefighter Nicole Mittendorff. Firefighter Mittendorff was reported missing the week of April 11th and after an exhaustive search, her body was found in the Shenandoah National Park where it is alleged that she killed herself.

It was discovered that Nicole was being harassed online by fellow firefighters who called her ugly names such as slut and whore, comments that surfaced even after her body was found. The Fairfax County Fire Department has opened an investigation into the cyberbullying of Firefighter Mittendorff. And let me remind you, cyberbullying is a form of harassment. Sexual comments made in cyberspace are sexual harassment. The fact that the comments are not being made to someone’s face does not diminish their impact.

Current numbers show that female firefighters represent approximately 4% of the total population of firefighters. It is a tough job and is a very difficult profession to get into. To argue that women sleep their way into these jobs is absolutely ludicrous. Furthermore, the pressure on women entering this field to succeed and to prove themselves to their male colleagues is extremely difficult. And sorry folks, I just don’t think the woman card can help you scale a 50 ft. ladder with a 150 lb dummy on your back. It just doesn’t work that way.

Be safe,

L.J. Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

Note: if you have not heard from a friend in a while and you are concerned, please check on them. You never know what a person may be going through. Let’s support and help one another out. It may prevent another tragedy such as this one. And it is okay not to know what to say. You can always direct friends and family to resources such as:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255  Samaritans 1-800-273-TALK

#womancard #womensissues #women #womeninsociety #maledominatedfields #bullying #cyberbullying #cyberbully #NicoleMittendorf #FairfaxCounty #Virginia #FairfaxCountyFireDepartment #firefighters #harassment #sexualharassment #suicide #crime #justice #reform #ljsamuel #deardiary

References

Cloherty, M. (2016, April 27). Investigation into cyberbullying of Fairfax firefighter to set precedent. WTOP. Retrieved from www.wtop.com.

Golgowski, N. (2016, April 27). Female firefighter’s suspected suicide sparks cyberbully probe. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/nicole-mittendorf-firefighter-bullying_us_57e2959e4b0d0042da9b3d6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Talk on Domestic Violence

image

Chances are you know someone that has been abused. Chances are you have seen a couple argue in public.  Chances are someone has put their hands on you, shoved you, or spoken to you in a loud, harsh, demeaning manner that could only be described as verbal abuse.  However you define it, it is all abuse.  And we need to do something about it. Females are being victimized younger and younger as they enter the dating world earlier, some as early as middle school.  We do not need anymore violence against women and we do not need any more killings at the hands of an intimate partner.

On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, there will be a discussion on this very issue at Shaw Library in Washington, DC.  This is a free community event so come out and lend your ear and contribute on ways to combat this crime and social disease.  Bring a friend or bring a young lady new to dating or bring an older woman who is more seasoned.  We need you all there!

There will be a social hour with refreshments and an opportunity to network with other women.  Please RSVP at bit.ly/1QDK4eC

Be safe,

L.J.

Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#domestic violence #dating #violence #onlinedating #singles #singlewomen #singlepeople #DC #DMV #DCdatingscene #WomensHistoryMonth #crime #justice #solutions #dontblamethevictim #ljsamuel #deardiary

 

 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture

stmuseumproject41447720452

(Source: Ricky Carioti, Washington Post)

On Monday, November 16, 2015 I had the pleasure of attending a special ceremony for the National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The ceremony was organized to thank donors for their generous monetary donations and to give the public a glimpse into what is to come. The evening was simply magical with speeches from political dignitaries, Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the NMAAHC, poetry, prose, and beautiful music including a performance from internationally renowned gospel recording artist BeBe Winans. The ceremony was another shining example of the great strides and accomplishments made by blacks from the African Diaspora.

With a $250 million price tag, the NMAAHC was established by Congress in December 2003[1]. The idea for the museum was first born in 1915 and one hundred years later, the idea has become a reality. The 400,000 square foot building will feature 11 exhibitions to include a 1913 bible once owned by a Buffalo Solider, belongings from a Tuskegee Airman, and Harriet Tubman’s hymnal[2].

The NMAAHC sits squarely on the National Mall in all its regalia as magnificent as the people it represents. Its exterior walls are made of bronze symbolic of a crown from the Yoruba culture[3]. It is juxtaposed with the Washington Monument which sits a few hundred feet away directly across the street. One white, the other brown. One built by slaves, the other built by experienced architects. The past. The future. A collision of space, time, and history.

On September 24, 2016, the doors of the National Museum for African American History and Culture will officially open. If the November 2015 event was any indication of what’s to come, hold onto your hats, bring plenty of tissue, and make sure your smartphone is charged.

Be safe,

L.J.
Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#BlackHistoryEVERYDAY #BlackHistory #BlackHistoryMonth #NMAAHC #HarrietTubman #LonnieBunch #Smithsonian #Museum #history #WashingtonDC #DC #DMV #NationalMall #ljsamuel #deardiary

[1] McGlone, P. (2016, January 30). Lonnie Bunch has eight months to get ready for African American museum opening. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/lonnie-bunch-has-eight-months-to-get-ready-for-african-american-museum-opening-heres-his-to-do-list/2016/01/30/b648adc4-c69a-11e5-8965-0607e0e265ce_story.html

[2] McGlone, P. (2016, January 30). Lonnie Bunch has eight months to get ready for African American museum opening. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/lonnie-bunch-has-eight-months-to-get-ready-for-african-american-museum-opening-heres-his-to-do-list/2016/01/30/b648adc4-c69a-11e5-8965-0607e0e265ce_story.html

[3] Wikipedia. (2016, February 4). National museum of African American history and culture. Retrieved from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_African_American_History_and_Culture

Note: reprint from Black History Program at The Church of Our Lady and St. Basil, Toronto, Ontario

New Year, New Things

Red black coming soon

Greetings All and Happy New Year! It is January 22nd, I can still say that, right?  This is my first post for 2016.  A new year brings a fresh beginning, blossoming of new ideas, the setting of goals, and an opportunity to hit the ‘reset’ button.  I pray this year brings you all that you hope and dream for.

I want to give everyone a sneak peak of my new project for 2016.  Another book! It is the second in the Samantha Harris Crime Series.  Book two is called Going Rogue.  I thank you all for the support of my first book Dear Diary and pray you will continue to support me as my new baby is rolled out.

Going Rogue

Sam is back and tough as ever!

Samantha Harris is back on the job at the DC Police Department after taking some personal time off after her abusive husband was killed by her partner. Just as she is settling in to resume her old duties, the Chief of Police transfers her to Internal Affairs. Friends and colleagues turn on her, leaving Samantha isolated within her own Department. As she is fighting to get her job back at the helm of Homicide, all hell breaks loose and Samantha is thrust into an investigation of a DC Officer gone rogue. Can she maintain her credibility and prove she is still strong enough to handle the job?

Stay tuned for details!

Be safe,

L.J. Follow me on twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#HappyNewYear #2016 #GoingRogue #DearDiary #LJSamuel #amwriting #amediting #crimefiction #sequel #Amazon #Kindle #crime #justice #police #DCPolice #DC #DMV