DEJA VU: PRELUDE TO MICHAEL BROWN AND FERGUSON, MISSOURI

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The Lynching of Cleo Wright, by Dominic J. Capeci, Jr. (The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 1998, 274 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

August 25, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Terry Teachout, a New York Times critic, playwright, and inveterate blogger, and I have something in common. He and I were both born in the “bootheel” of Missouri, he in Sikeston and I in Charleston – in the area of one of the most tragic and heinous lynchings in the annals of America; the lynching of Cleo Wright. We both, also have weighed in on Dominic J. Capeci’s book; The Lynching of Cleo Wright, which has been described as “a creatively conceptualized anatomy of a lynching, and “Capeci places the lynching of Cleo Wright within the context of the city of Sikeston, the state of Missouri, and the nation.” This book should also be viewed in context with the ongoing furor and debate of Ferguson, Missouri and the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white policeman.

Having been born in Charleston, Missouri, just 14 miles from where this infamous Cleo Wright lynching occurred, I have actually spoken to someone identified in Capeci’s book, and grew up around him. This person, Marshall Currin, was recognized as one of the leading black civil rights leaders in Charleston, and the state of Missouri. As a matter of fact, after the lynching of Cleo Wright and the ensuing tension and uproar throughout the state and country, the Governor of the State of Missouri invited Currin and other black ministers and leaders from throughout the state to the State Capital for a meeting in an attempt to quell the unrest. I had no idea at the time that this quiet and unassuming man that was serving me hamburgers and root beer sodas at their family restaurant in Charleston, had played such a prominent role in history and civil rights. The author actually indicates in the bibliography of the book that he interviewed the wife of Marshall Currin, Helen Currin, in Charleston on May 19, 1988. I remember her well, as we used to refer to her as “Ms. Helen.” I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Capeci was interviewing Helen Currin!

Dominic J. Capeci, Jr., professor of history at Southwest Missouri State University, and the editor of Detroit and the ‘Good War,’ concludes that the Sikeston event contributed more to the subsequent history of civil rights and race relations than any other in the state of Missouri, as stated by Richard S. Kirkendall. Now, and some 70 years later, the recent and ongoing racial strife in Ferguson, Missouri is like Déjà vu. Ironically, the killings of Cleo Wright in 1942 and Michael Brown in 2014 in Missouri, started the same way, with both of these black males being stopped by police in a car as they were walking down the street.

On January 25, 1942, black oil mill worker Cleo Wright allegedly assaulted a white woman in her home in Sikeston, Missouri, and nearly killed the first police officer who tried to arrest him. An angry mob then hauled Wright out of jail and dragged him through the streets of Sikeston before burning him alive. This, according to Capeci. Wright was actually tied to the bumper of a car and dragged through the streets of Sikeston, with eight bullet holes in him, and then deposited in front of a black church while they were having service, and then doused with five gallons of gasoline and burned alive. I can’t begin to imagine what horror and pain that scene must have been like for the parishioners worshipping God, or the agony and pain that Wright felt and endured! The author writes of a mass exodus of blacks from Sikeston, after viewing this brutal scene, stating; “Blacks who happened upon Wright’s dragging and burning never forgot, and youthful witnesses experienced nightmares for some time afterward.”

Capeci gives a graphic and horrific depiction of the actual assault of Grace Sturgeon in his book The Lynching of Cleo Wright, as he states: “The bloodshed began early Sunday morning, January 25, at 847 East Kathleen Avenue in the so-called shoe factory district of southeast Sikeston. There, Grace Sturgeon resided with her eight-year-old son Jimmy and her sister-in-law Lavern Sturgeon, sharing the house while their husbands – brothers James and John – served in the armed forces. Grace Sturgeon awoke first, first hearing noise in the kitchen around 1:00 A.M., where someone attempted to open the back door by cutting its glass and reaching in to undo its lock. Thirty minutes later she heard the bedroom window being raised and warned the intruder to come no farther. She sat up as a man entered the room, cursing her and waking Laverne, who thought Grace had had a nightmare until she saw the stranger and heard him say, ‘Shut your mouth or I’ll kill you.’” Mind you, this is based on numerous interviews that Capeci would later have with Grace and Laverne Sturgeon, as well as James Sturgeon. It is interesting to note that neither of these women have ever positively identified Cleo Wright as the intruder that entered their home that night and assaulted Grace Sturgeon.

The author further describes the actual assault of Grace Sturgeon: “Grace Sturgeon turned to face her attacker, who reacted to her defiance like a ‘mad bee.’ Spat upon and threatened, she blocked his six-inch folding knife from cutting her throat, nearly losing three fingers on the hand that saved her life and surprising him with her strength. Staggering under a barehanded blow to the head, she fought on, ‘a stout S.O.B.,’ he uttered in amazement before slicing her lower abdomen as easily as one could make ‘a deep pin scratch.’ She ‘burned like fire’ as her intestines ‘just unfolded’ and fell from her body, and she wondered if her heart would follow. As she grasped her dangling insides with one hand and the front door with the other, an approaching auto frightened the assailant away. She was standing on the porch in her own blood when H.D. Davenport, her step-grandfather, arrived moments later, still in nightclothes and armed with a corn knife.” Perhaps this was a bit of editorial license on the part of Capeci, as well as more from his book!  It is very curious to me that the author would mention the fact that Wright would spit on Grace Sturgeon, and later in his book allude to a possible affair between Wright and Sturgeon, even including Wright’s wife Ardella confronting Sturgeon after Wright’s death about and alleged and rumored affair, then for Capeci to downplay and minimize that possibility. There were others that actually considered that, including Wright’s cousin.

Capeci describes in his book the condition of Cleo Wright after his alleged assault on Grace Sturgeon and just prior to his being forcefully taken out of the Sikeston jail and burned alive: “Wright endured even more pain, and greater misfortune. Taken to the jail in City Hall by Beck and Whittley, he got very sick, and Beck, who discovered his gunshot wounds for the first time, called Dr. E.J. Nienstedt and an ambulance. Accompanied by his captors to the hospital, where Whittley had his arm treated before leaving his home, Wright waited a short time in the emergency room for the physician. In the basement facility, his wounds – eight bullet holes – were dressed and his broken arm set. Wright, though still conscious, received no narcotics, for Dr. Nienstedt feared that an anesthetic might prove fatal. He had withstood six blows to the head, four bullets passing completely through the midsection, right chest, and right arm, and enormous loss of blood. When visited after surgery by his in-laws, Richard and Minnie Gay, he was unconscious. Nor did he recognize his wife, Ardella, shortly before daylight, when full hospital rooms and emergency-only treatment for blacks required his removal by ambulance to his home in Sunset Addition, escorted by Policeman Grover H. Lewis.”    

According to this detailed and riveting account by Capeci, very shortly after the cremation of Wright, St. Louisan Sidney R. Redmond led the way of a base of protest to meet with Missouri Governor Forrest C. Donnell. On January 29, 1942, Redmond arrived in Jefferson City with eighty-seven persons. Their names, reading like a Who’s Who of Missouri’s black elite, included St. Joseph’s Dr. William A. Simms, Charleston restaurateur Marshall Currin, Kansas City Call editor C.A. Franklin, St. Louis attorney R.L. Witherspoon, Columbia’s Rev. Ernest S. Redd, and Jefferson City’s Professor Lorenzo J. Greene. The eyes of the world were on Sikeston and Charleston, Missouri, just as they are now on Ferguson, Missouri in the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a white policeman.

Wright’s death was unfortunately, not unique in American history, but what his death meant in the larger context of life in the twentieth-century is an important and compelling story. After the lynching, the U.S. Justice Department was forced to become involved in civil rights concerns for the first time, provoking a national reaction to violence on the home front at a time when the country was battling for democracy in Europe, so says Capeci. As in the case of President Obama dispatching Attorney General Eric Holder to St. Louis (Ferguson) to oversee and assess the Michael Brown situation, Capeci states: “President Roosevelt, through the United States attorney general, set precedent for similar reasons. Francis Biddle reacted to what became over three weeks a nationwide outcry. Politics, public opinion, black protest, and war diplomacy made him ‘vitally interested in this case.’ He knew, too, that NAACP and Justice Department representatives had conferred several times during the same period. Quickly, then, Biddle agreed with Victor W. Rotnem, head of the department’s Civil Rights Section (CRS), and Assistant Attorney General Wendell Berge, director of its Criminal Division – which included the CRS – that the lynching was more than a ‘local problem.’ Distressed by Japanese propaganda depicting Wright’s death as an indication of what East Indians might expect if democracies won the war, on February 10 Biddle ordered an FBI probe into the incident.” From reading Capeci’s book, it would be fair to say that the situation in Ferguson is like Déjà vu.

Capeci unravels the tragic story of Wright’s life on several stages, showing how these acts of violence were indicative not only of racial tension but of the clash of the traditional and the modern brought about the war. At least, that is Capeci’s take on it. But there is actually something more subtle about his story as I read it, an undercurrent that Capeci may be unable to quite grasp beyond his telling of the story.

In The Lynching of Cleo Wright, Capeci draws from a wide range of archival sources and personal interviews with actual participants and spectators at this tragic event to draw vivid portraits of Wright, his victims, law-enforcement officials, and members of the lynch mob. Capeci places Wright in the larger context of southern racial violence and shows the significance of his death in local, state, and national history during the most important crisis of the twentieth century. It is ironic, and one could certainly argue the point that some 70 years after the lynching of Cleo Wright, a similar pattern is being played out some 150 miles north of Sikeston with the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white policeman, and just like with Wright, the Governor of Missouri and the Justice Department felt compelled to get involved.

In his book the author chronicles a history of lynchings throughout the state of Missouri, including that of a Roosevelt Grigsby in nearby Charleston during the mid-1920s for allegedly attempting to rape a sixteen-year-old white girl.  

The aforementioned Terry Teachout, in his Close to Home assessment of Capeci’s The Lynching of Cleo Wright in the Books section of The New York Times, May 30, 1999, had this to say: “It is a strange experience to learn about one’s hometown by reading a scholarly monograph, especially one written in a style that is two parts Joe Friday and one part academic lingo. Yet it was only by reading Capeci’s book that I learned of the myriad ways in which Wright’s ugly death overlapped with the idyllic small-town life of my boyhood. And though I spent countless hours talking with my best friend about everything under the sun, he never told me that his aunt was the woman Wright had knifed, or that it happened a half-dozen blocks from my childhood home, where my mother lives to this day.”

To put this story and area in the bootheel of Missouri in perspective, one need only to view YouTube video of Emory University Associate Professor of African American Studies, Carol Anderson, describing here. Also, to capture a sense of what Sikeston and Charleston was like around the time of the lynching of Cleo Wright, famed Hollywood director Roger Corman directed a movie in Charleston in 1962 called The Intruder, starring William Shatner of Star Trek fame. Parts of the movie was actually filmed at the high school in Charleston that I graduated from, and includes friends that I grew up with.

As I am depicted in this photo taken more than 50 years ago of Mr. Mullins' Lincoln School in Charleston Future Farmers of America (FFA) class along with my classmates, it is a resounding reminder of our affinity with Sikeston, but at this time not aware of the gruesome killing of Cleo Wright just 14 miles away. Sure, the aforementioned Marshall Currin was aware of it, but it was something that he chose not to share with us. Perhaps he wanted to spare us of the trauma of such an event at such a young and impressionable age. Very possibly everyone pictured here were served at Marshall Currin's (brother Marshall) restaurant in Charleston.

The movie was about the forced integration of the high school, and the racial strife that ensued. See YouTube movie. The aforementioned Marshall Currin makes a cameo appearance in this movie, standing in front of a church with a number of young people that I actually went to school and grew up with. There is a scene in this movie in which Klansmen blew up the church, killing the pastor. Corman would later say that he and his film crew would have to sneak out of Charleston under the cover of darkness, due to the filming of this movie, indicating fear for their wellbeing.

This is a fascinating book and story by Capeci, if for no other reason than to see if history repeats itself. It is also a disturbing story of man’s inhumanity to man.

Dennis Moore is an Associate Editor for the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. He is also the author of a book about Chicago politics; “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago.” He can be contacted at contractsagency@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.

Comments

"Racism Still In Missouri Bootheel in 2016"

I like to first give high honors and much respect to: Mr. Dennis Moore for his awesome book review on "The Lynching Of Cleo Wright", a Black man lynched in Sikeston, Missouri in 1942. I am a 58 year old single Black man born in raised in Chicago, Illinois on the Near Northside, Cabrini Green Housing Projects. I am raising my two young daughters alone, which they will be 10, and 11 years old this month; and my 88 year old World War II Veteran dad stay with us. I moved to the "Bootheel" Charleston, Missouri two decades (20 years) ago; and from the vital educational information in Mr. Dennis Moore's book review, there hasn't been much change in the pass 74 years in the Bootheel (Southeast Missouri). On November 8, 2011 a white Charleston, Missouri Police Officer shot a Black mentally ill 34 year old young man twice and killed him; even though he had been tased twice. No protests, no one requested a Federal investigation; and the police is still on the force this very day (JULY 6, 2016). The murdered Black young man name is: Murry Lee Asberry; Google up the story it's in the: Wednesday January 25, 2012 Standard Democrat Newspaper. I been battling racism and and miscarragies of injustices for the 20 years I've lived here. I have documented facts to show the now Chief of the Charleston, Missouri Police Department framed me on a sex case on June 25, 2000, when he was a Lieutenant than. It almost put me in the mind of the Cleo Wright case: a white young female claimed I picked her up from Sikeston, Missouri and brought her to my apartment in Charleston, Missouri, masturbated, than took her back to Sikeston. I had a trial by jury of 11 whites, and 1 black female; the black female knew the alleged white victim and her mother. She rented a mobile home from the alleged victim's mother for five years, than she brought the mobile home from her; and she worked with this same lady. The trial Judge refuse to grant me a mistrial. I have to register as a sex offender for the rest of life. This was a class a misdemeanor case. If I had a fair and impartial trial, the case would had been dismissed. I have copies of the: police reports, depositions, and the court transcripts; if read by any impartial (unbias) investigative reporter, they will clearly she the Chief of Police, and the other white female police officer falsified the police reports, the girl and her mother lied on the stand, and the Chief never came to court. I also have factual legal documented records to show the Charleston, Missouri R-1 School District and the police department allowed a white school bus driver to get away with abusing and endangering my than 5 year old 60 pounds daughter Feburary 1, 2012, when the school negligently sent her to the school bus with this man alone for 20 minutes or more. The school resource police officer never once questioned the bus driver, and he had a knife on the bus that he cut something off of my daughter's backpack while it was still on her back. I am schedule to go to trial (August 11, 2016) for merely exercising my 1st and 14th amendments rights. This is the second time in 7 months; two different cases, but the same person. A Judge last December 2015, dismissed the charge after about a 2 and a half hour trial. I have a story to tell about the continue racism, and miscarragies of Injustices against my household and me for standing up against white supremacy in Charleston, Missouri. I pray that someone out there take the time out and hear my story: "THE RAYMOND LOUIS IVY AND TWO DAUGHTERS STORY". Thank all of you in advance, Raymond Louis Ivy Ivyraylouis@gmail.com I am willing to let any impartial (unbais) investigative reporter have copies of all my factual legal documents to show the corruption, conspiracy, racism, and threats to silence my voice by any means necessary. View both of my YouTube video channels: 1) Raymond Ivy YouTube channel 2) Ivyraylouis YouTube channel

CHARGES FILED IN ATTACKS AGAINST BLACKS

Seven Latino gang members have been charged with firebombing the homes of black families in a Boyle Heights housing prohect, an attack that prosecutors allege was designed to drive African Americans out of the neighborhood, according to a Los Angeles Times story by Kate Mather, Brittny Mejia and Hector Becerra, dated July 8, 2016. A federal indictment unsealed Thursday describes how the gang members allegedly planned nad carried out the May 12, 2014, attack, which came at a time when families were increasingly moving back into the Ramona Gardens public housing complex after previous violence prompted most African Americans to leave. 

SINGLE FATHER, RAYMOND IVY AND HIS 2 LITTLE GIRLS

MY NAME IS RON SIMMONS I LIVE IN CHICAGO, IL I GREW UP IN CABRINI GREEN HOUSING PROJECT IN CHICAGO WHERE I ALSO GREW UP WITH RAYMOND IVY AS WELL. RAYMOND CONTACTED ME OVER 2 OR 3 YEARS AGO TO SEE IF I COULD HELP HIM WITH THE PROBLEMS HE WAS HAVE IN CHARLESTON, MO WITH WHAT HAD HAPPEN TO HIS DAUGHTERS AT THE SCHOOL THEY WERE GOING TO AT THE TIME. THROUGH ALL THE COVER UPS WITH THE BUS DRIVER, WITH SCHOOL STAFF, POLICE DEPT., AND DCFS THEY PUT HIS DAUGHTERS IN HARMS WAY AND NO ONE WAS HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO WHAT HAD HAPPENED. I TOLD HIM TO TAKE HIS DAUGHTERS OUT OF THE SCHOOL BECAUSE NO ONE THERE WAS HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND IT WAS UNSAFE FOR THEM TO STAY. I CALLED SOME RESOURCES TO HELP HIM OUT WITH WHAT WAS GOING ON THERE AND WITH WHAT HAPPEN TO HIS DAUGHTERS. RAYMOND HAS BEEN FIGHT THIS THE SYSTEM IN CHARLESTON,MO FOR JUSTICE FOR HIS GIRLS WITH NO HELP FROM THE COMMUNITY, PASTORS OR LAW ENFORCEMENT, SO ME AND RAYMOND CONTACTED MANY TO GET HELP FROM FOR HIS FAMILY, THERE HAVE BEEN NEWSPAPER ARTICLES, TV INTERVIEWS, THE WHITE HOUSE IN INVOLVED AND THE FBI. WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR AN ATTORNEY OR CIVIL RIGHTS GROUP TO TAKE HIS CASE BUT HAVEN'T FOUND ANYONE YET. IT WOULD BE VERY NICE IF HE HAD SOMEONE THAT COULD FILE CHARGES ON THE BUS DRIVER, THE SCHOOL BOARD, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND DCFS WHO NEVER CAME OUT TO THE SCHOOL TO INVESTIGATE ON WHAT HAPPEN AND THEY WOULDN'T TAKE HIS COMPLAINT OVER THE PHONE. SO MUCH HAS HAPPEN TO THIS SINGLE FATHER WHO HAS BEEN TRYING TO DO ALL THE RIGHT THINGS AND CAN'T GET THE HELP HE NEEDS TO TAKE DOWN ALL THE AGENCIES THAT HAS DONE HIS 2 LITTLE GIRLS WRONG WITH NO JUSTICE FOR THEM, IS IT BECAUSE HIS FAMILY IS OF COLOR? SO I ASK YOU TO CLOSE YOUR EYES AND IMAGE THE 2 LITTLE GIRLS AND THEY ARE WHITE! SINCERELY, RON SIMMONS

Hatred, Racism and Xenophobia is not new...It began in Creation

Hatred, racism and xenophobia is not new...it began shortly after creation. Racism and xenophobia are both forms of hatred. Mankind has an enemy who hates us. His name is that old serpent called the Devil and Satan (Rev. 12:10, 12) who was cast out of heaven into the earth. goes on to say in verse twelve that the devil has come down unto you, having great wrath (anger, hatred) because he knows he has only a short time here in the earth. My point is that we are dealing with a spiritual problem with natural means. It will never work. Hatred, racism and xenophobia can't be legislated away or protested away because it's in the hearts of men. One way to deal with this menace is to love your enemy and do good to them that spitefully use you. This is not a popular solution and will probably not be practiced by the majority of people. It is God's solution to hatred, and I will always take His word and His solution over man's. Our nation is in a crisis. We [the Church, God's people] have the solution but we are not doing much about it. Prayer is key, but it takes a nation of praying people, not just a few to change the direction things are going in this world. A once popular song gave us the solution; "What the world needs now is love, sweet love."

NEW FERGUSON COUNCIL MEMBERS UPBEAT

A surge of voters helped alter the racial makeup of the Ferguson City Council, and observers said Wednesday that the change creates a new energy in a community trying to find its way after months of turmoil following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. More than 29% of Ferguson voters - double the percentage from the April 2014 election - went to the polls Tuesday and elected three new City Council members, including two blacks. That means half of the six-member council will now be African-American. The lone black incumbent councilman was not for re-election. The mayor of the near 70 percent population city is white.

Department of Justice Report on Ferguson Comment to Dennis Moore

After having made so many comments about the racial problems in Ferguson, Missouri, I have come to a place where I have said what I think of it. The Department of Justice agrees. The officer in question, however, faces no accountability. I feel that we are dealing with a larger problem than racial inequality, as Cortina Jackson pointed out. Inequities tend to spread and I think this is likely to happen. People are currently besieged with exhausting problems daily. The inherent unfairness of life is apparent to any student of history. I think all people should be on alert when any segment of society is repetitively treated unjustly and with violence. Whites should look over their shoulders too because the idea that "it can't happen here" is not true. The human spirit is a complex and enigmatic thing. The possibility of anyone being corrupted should be taken into account. There is a reason that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The founders of this country knew that very well and our government is set up as it is to make every effort to prevent power from being concentrated in such a way that ordinary citizens have no right to speak out. I suggest that people continue to speak out and make the extra effort to do it even though it is inconvenient. I hope we do not lose touch with the historic courage of the American people as we continue the fight to maintain the freedoms this country was based on. Let's not forget the courage and sacrifice of our military and the Marines in giving all to protect us against malign powers in the invasion of Normandy against an ugly, corrupt power based on hatred of one group of people that spread into a world war. It happened there. We landed on the beaches of Normandy with our Allies and put a stop to the hatred fueling the Third Reich. The hatred focused on one group of people. I have said before that the police are not the military and the military are not the police. It is our job to speak out so that this does not become blurred. I still say to the many positive forces that make this country a place where people seek asylum and peace, Ooh Rah! Some people gave their lives to make it that way. Don't let the voices of Martin Luther King and so many others of quality and courage go to waste. People, embrace your differences. Those who do wrong should be removed from the ability to do more wrong, and those who do not should be protected. MJ Payne Author The Remembered Self: A Journey into the Heart of the Beast www.buytherememberedself.com

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REPORT ON FERGUSON, MISSOURI

Although the Department of Justice issued a scathing report of of bias and racism on the police department of Ferguson, Missouri, the police officer that actually brought about the need for this report, Darren Wilson, was given a pass. The Justice Department (DOJ) indicated that Wilson would not face charges in the death of black and unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

OFFICER CHARGED WITH MURDER IN TEEN'S DEATH; VIDEO RELEASED

A white Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, who shot a black teenager 16 times last year was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing that many people fear could spark unrest, according to an Associated Press story by Don Babwin and Jason Keyser in the Lancaster Antelope Valley Press.

 

The 17-year-old teenager, Laquan McDonald, can be seen lying on the ground, moving ocasionally. At least two small puffs of smoke are seen coming off his body as the officer continues firing.

Former Police Officer

I am a former police officer, and also a born again Christian, born and raised C.O.G.I.C. I wasn't thrilled with the way I was trained as a police officer when it came to handling certain situations and people! That's why I am a Former officer. We were trained on how to gain compliance from people by learning techniques that would cause pain without leaving a mark. We were trained to gain probable cause to get inside of a person's vehicle if we wanted a closer look. These trainings are useful, when protecting the officer and innocent citizens. However, in the wrong hands, these techniques really can be used against the very people that officers are sworn in to protect. I am a Christian person and utilized these techniques for my safety, can you imagine these techniques in the hands of a racist, or someone with mental problems? Unfortunately, it happens, and has happened for many years throughout our history! I wrote a book "On Earth As it is in Hell " after a series of dreams about the book's contents. Unfortunately, things will get worse before better. We are dealing with bigger things than just race relations, terrorism, drugs. This is just to take the focus off of the big picture that will affect everyone. Satan is not playing with us. Go to www.cortinajackson.com and see what I'm talking about. Martial law, race riots, unrest, and other things will come, it will get worse. It's time to pay attention to what is going on in the world. Everything that I dreamed about is coming true. Cortina Jackson Author of "On Earth As It Is In Hell" www.cortinajackson.com

Dirty Pool

The news that the Ferguson grand jury was incorrectly instructed to make a verdict based on an invalid statute pretty much says why there is a problem in the first place. The fact that the powers that be took the trouble to obfuscate the judicial system shows just how entrenched the racism is in Missouri. The fact that what they did was not only evil but stupid is obvious. They were so sure of themselves they made a mistake. With the eyes of the whole world upon them they violated the law and the entire spirit of the US Constitution. Our government is constructed as it is to prevent these types of injustices from prevailing. Why do we have the executive, legislative and judicial systems in separate parts? To prevent a dictatorship from emerging. To maintain a balance of powers that ensures we will remain free. The Founding Fathers knew how easily the human spirit is corrupted and they took all possible measures to prevent the evil flower of corrupt power from blooming in our country. The spirit of the law is quite evident in the blinded woman who represents justice and holds the weights in her hands in such a blinded state that she cannot rule unjustly. That is America at her best. Ferguson is an example of America at her worst. The nasty root system of the bad will exhibited in the behavior of the authorities in Ferguson is exposed. Our judicial system is designed to rip out the weeds and let the lush grass flourish. The demonstrations across the country are evidence that this root system in which the poison of racism is alive, underground, and producing a foul crop of corrupted power. Everyone hates a liar and a cheat. The search-beam and magnifying glass are on Ferguson. Blocking and strangling the judicial system from functioning as it should produces violence. It is in the best interest of every US citizen to preserve the freedoms we have fought for or who will be next in this circus of injustice? MJ Payne Author The Remembered Self: A Journey into the Heart of the Beast

Ferguson, A Broken System & US Racial Treadmill

As I walked through the living room I saw a face on the television and I watched in fascination. I focused mainly on the demeanor of the man in Ferguson announcing that Darren Wilson would not face any charges in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. The aura of inward gloating in the man's presentation was mesmerizing. It was a nauseating example of the brokenness between the US police and judicial system and communities largely made up of people of color. The thin veneer of civility was so slight that I was shocked and disgusted. The following violence was a re-run of US racial history. We remain on a treadmill of exhausting reliving of past incidents. Until local governments and police agencies are representative of all members of the community this will be the case. There is no way to address underlying, entrenched hatreds until these problem areas are seriously and effectively dealt with. Imagine a community of whites governed by a completely black government and police department. Unthinkable? The policies of dealing with African Americans that encourages production of children without an intact family structure, with an absent father figure, is a facilitator in crippling the black underclass and depriving them at birth. At that point a seed of difficulty is planted when young men have no strong father figure who consistently instills accountability, in effect creating or perpetuating a matriarchy of strong African American women stretched to the limits in an attempt to exist in a safe environment with educational opportunities. A many pronged plan has to be in place to produce leaders who can take the places of responsibility in communities and police departments as they become available. There is great importance in being groomed for leadership and nourished with love. The alternative is the violence borne of hopelessness and rage. M.J. Payne Author The Remembered Self

Assistant District Attorney Kathi Alizadeh in Ferguson

Assistant District Attorney Kathi Alizadeh instructed grand jurors on how to decide the case based on a statute that was invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court two decades ago, according to Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC. O'Donnell indicated that he had talked with the Missouri Attorney General and was informed by him that the "Missouri Deadly Force Statute" that allowed Darren Wilson to shoot a fleeing Michael Brown was invalidated in "Tennessee v. Garner" in 1985 and Alizadeh did not inform the Grand Jury of the significance of it.

3 blacks on 12 panel Grand Jury in 70% black makeup of Ferguson

Great point MJ, to "imagine a community of whites governed by a completely black government and police department." People may have lost sight of the fact that the community of Ferguson, Missouri has a 70% black population, yet the mayor and police chief are white, and only 3 of the 12 Grand Jury members were black, making it virtually impossible for the Grand Jury to return an indictment against white police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old and unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Prosecutor: No Probable Cause to Indict Officer Wilson

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, as indicated by Lizz Brown a columnist in St. Louis, "dumped" information on the Grand Jury, to assure that there would be no probable cause to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old black and unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Robert McCulloch has a history of these types of stances, as his father was killed by a black man before he became prosecutor in St. Louis. Many blacks in the St. Louis area, knowing of this history, strongly requested his not being involved in the Grand Jury indictment.

Stanford researcher wins MacArthur 'genius' grant for race study

The MacArthur Foundation awarded Jennifer Eberhardt a 'genius' grant for showing how we link objects with race. Eberhardt was cited for her efforts to examine how subtle, ingrained racial biases influence not just how we view people, but the objects of our daily world - and how those perceptions skew institutions such as the criminal justice system. In regard to the death of Michael Brown at the hands of white policeman Darren Wilson, Eberhardt's study is basically saying that white policeman and white District Attorneys such as McCulloch have a predisposition to malign and convict blacks. Eberhardt specifically stated in a story by Geoffrey Mohan in the Los Angeles Times dated September 17, 2014; "Most people know that African Americans are associated with crime and that they're stereotyped as criminal - in fact, it's one of the strongest stereotypes of blacks in American society."

"Bias made tangible"

Dr. Eberhardt's statistical studies have shown, for example, that having stereotypically black facial features correlates with tougher jury verdicts, more death sentences and erroneous identifications by police." Is that what white police officer Darren Wilson was considering when he shot black 18-year-old Michael Brown to death?

Re: Michal's comment

Thank you, Michal, for your supportive comments. Here's hoping that "100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World" will not disappoint:-). I think we all agree that the past still speaks, and we must not shut our ears from its lessons, many of them bitter. There are two things we can do with what it teaches: let it embitter and further divide us, or allow its most important lesson, that we should not repeat acts perpetrated by those who came to "the new world" from a Europe that had not long emerged from the Middle/Dark Ages, to further shape and control our thinking as we press forward for a better, more productive future. When Feudalism--a hindrance to social advancement--dominated as a political system, it hindered the poor from improving their lives. Widespread religious superstition kept people in fear, and the powerful Catholic church often opposed advancements in science and culture. Moreover, there was the disease pandemic of The Black Death/bubonic plague, that took the lives of millions, while the Crusades were part of ongoing warfare common to the era. Against such a backdrop where human life was not a valued commodity, it is no small wonder that Indigenous peoples were perceived as obstacles in the way of social and economic advancement by Europeans who had been for so long, shaped by such systems: captured Africans sold to them would become valued only as an investment that would further wealth and socio-economic advancement as unpaid laborers. Once "freed", however, they, like the Native peoples of the land, would be relegated to some form of the concentration camp in order to ensure the safety of those of European descent. Evaluated from such a viewpoint, the acquisition of power and the greed that often drives it, all too often propels the group in authority and control to make the maintaining of it the center of their interests. More often than not, by any and all means necessary, they then do all they can to prevent overthrow by those who are powerless to resist. But, as history has taught us, through social protests designed to stir the conscience and awaken society to the grievances of the oppressed, voices on the side of what is right and just will eventually cry out in concert, and those of conscience will hear them all around the world. May I also add that I am still an inquisitive learner, and hope always to explore the past and present with a sense of wonder. KB Schaller, Author 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World Winner, International Book Award, Women's Issues http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007O46N0G

"Darren Wilson will not be indicted in Ferguson, Missouri"

White police officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted in the shooting death of 18-year-old unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, as determined by a Grand Jury in St. Louis. Robert McCulloch, the local prosecutor, made the announcement.

Michal Payne's Response to KB Schaller's Comment

Thank you, Michal, for expanding on the phenomenon of fear/dislike of those who are different. It is certainly true that in some parts of the world, religion is the flashpoint that incites. Here in the United States--except for the Native American Indian--the freedom of religious expression, historically, has been treated with greater tolerance. I would daresay that, in this culture, if those who worshipped differently were Euro in appearance and did not reveal their beliefs, they could blend effortlessly within the majority culture. Even though Jewish persons were discriminated against because of their religious beliefs, in most cases, it was not a "discrimination on sight". Not so with people of color. There was no blending in. As we are all aware of, the hue of their skin immediately identified them as different. Sadly, even Euro-Americans who professed the Christian faith (but did not demonstrate its tenets) segregated their worship services, neighborhoods, schools, restaurants, all public facilities, and sometimes, even participated in violent acts perpetrated against them. In the Deep South, at least, history even bears out the posting of signs outside certain white-owned establishments that read, "no dogs, n*****s, Indians or Jews," or some version of such. In summation, as you state so well, it is "fear of the different" that serves to divide. Whether applied to people, religion, customs, or traditions, the entrenched thinking of "us and they" serves this concept well. And nowhere is this phenomenon more clearly demonstrated or deeply rooted, than when based on the color of one's skin. Thanks again for all the great points your comment covered. KB Schaller, Author 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World Winner, International Book Award, Women's Issues http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007O46N0G

Ferguson Grand Jury Witness #10 Statement

It is interesting to note that Ferguson Grand Jury Witness #10 in his initial statement to a detective indicated that he was about 100 yards from the scene of officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown struggle at the police car, yet in his Grand Jury testimony changed it to 50 to 75 yards. This is crucial, for no prosecutor challenged this. This was the only witness that allegedly supported Darren Wilson's position, yet 50 as opposed to 100 yards is a vast and significant difference.

KB Schaller's Latest Comment Re Dennis Moore's Review subject ma

Thank you for your comment KB. It is most insightful as always. The segregation of worship between whites and persons of color is, to my mind, one of the most deeply shameful examples of prejudice in American history. It violated the very tenets of Christianity as did the infamous Jim Crow laws and the disgusting signs posted with the content you mentioned. I am familiar with the deep South as I went to college there. Granted, there were many African Americans on campus, but being from California, I find it hard to describe the shock of driving through the black part of town and the miles of shotgun houses being like in a different world as they actually were. It is impossible to forget the black women who attended the tables of white families I knew well, and how these women brought food to the tables when a buzzer was pressed on the floor to summon them. I am not suggesting that California has no racial problems and no history of such. It is quite true that any person perceived as white, including many non orthodox Jews, persons of partial African ancestry who look white, Arabs of pale complexion etc. can pass through society in a fluid manner as long as they are quiet about their beliefs. I also think that the religious freedom America has been famous for is eroding in that if a person admits to being Christian there are building prejudices and biases that are troubling. As we all know, the history of discord, ugliness and suffering born of the disenfranchisement of segments of American society has brought a litany of documented woes throughout the United States to African Americans, Native Americans, and certainly Euro Americans through the Civil War. We are still reaping a bitter crop born of shameful prejudices. One of Dennis Moore's strong points is his empathic nature which fosters positive discussions and rapport between persons of divergent backgrounds. This is essential if the many resonant threads of the voices of America are to be heard. None of us in this forum caused history to be shaped as it is, but each of us, by voicing our experiences and listening to each other can help shape a better future. KB, you are obviously a woman of great intellectual breadth and generosity of spirit. As you pointed out, we cannot change the past, but we can embrace a better future. I have copied your link and intend to buy your book as I would like to hear more of what you have to say and am quite taken with your writing voice.

Video: Police lied!

A video actually shows that Michael Brown was killed approximately 148 feet from Darren Wilson's SUV, debunking the earlier assertion that Mike Brown was charging the police officer when he was killed. 148 feet!!

K. B. Schaller's Comment on Dennis Moore Review

This morning I listened to my half Native American (Sioux)/African American husband talk about visiting his grandfather. The light of the day shone on my husband’s face as he talked. His smooth red-toned skin made him look like a lantern that glowed from within and bloomed on his ruddy face. He said his grandfather held him on his lap and was a very old red man with braids with beads entwined and that he wore turquoise jewelry. My husband had showed me pictures from his family album and there were numerous close Indian relatives on both sides of the family. The pictures looked to me like they came from a history book, and they did. His own history book. I thought about the Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 that killed 300 Sioux and ended the Indian Wars. Chief Sitting Bull had been killed in an attempt to capture him and Chief Big Foot was killed in the fierce attack against U.S. soldiers at Wounded Knee. In that last stand of the Sioux, one said “I have lived long enough”, and the Indians fought ferociously in an attempt to regain their way of life. The earlier Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 against the Arapaho and Cheyanne in a peaceful village killed mostly women and children. These put me in remembrance of the lynching of Cleo Wright and the murder of Michael Brown in Missouri’s Bootheel area. It is similar in that the same cycle of repression “lurks below the surface” when we “peek into the soul of America” as K.B. Schaller wrote in her wrenching indictment of the treatment of people of color in her comment in this forum. She discusses the fear of color. I feel there is an innate fear and distrust of “difference” in humans that I see worldwide. I see it in the brutal massacres of Muslims against Muslims of different sects and feel it is the source of man’s inhumanity to man. Control through terror and repression is a thread that snakes hideously through history. My hope is that in confronting this through discussions, books written, and political change, that this monster can be tamed or controlled in a positive manner. African Americans got no apology for the ghastly horrors committed against them but it appears that many Euro-Americans do feel the Indian Nations were victimized. I feel the spirit of the Sioux lives on in the people who carry this blood, in their vitality, creativeness, and relentless endurance. I live with an example of it and see it every day. It, and the beauty and strength of African America is alive and even joyful. I very much admire K.B. Schaller’s comment, and as a woman, her grit in writing about her culture and experience.

FORENSIC EVIDENCE WEIGHED IN FERGUSON GRAND JURY DECISION

Dr. Michael Baden was called to testify before the Grand Jury investigating the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, giving the impression that what he has to say is crucial.

A Native American's perspective on the Cleo Wright incident

Very true, Dennis. Sadly, many of the acts of barbarism and domestic terrorism were committed generations ago, dictated by the social mores and traditions of the day. Sadder yet, such acts were tacitly condoned, and sometimes even perpetrated, by those sworn to uphold the law. "Political correctness" was still in the distant future, and those who suffered more acutely from discrimination and abuse were people of color, highly visible targets within a powerful majority culture of European descent. People of color, therefore, came to share an unspoken treaty resulting from that shared history of oppression and impotent inner rage that dared not openly express itself. Regrettably, the same anger and unforgiveness can also serve to unite recipients of unjust acts as well. My hope is that, while the past is immutable--hewn in stone and unchangeable--the future is fluid. I believe that we would best serve the future of our people through redirecting these emotions, however justifiable, into working toward realizing plans and dreams through seizing opportunities that will benefit us all, and make this a better world, one person at a time. KB Schaller, Author 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World Winner, International Book Award, Women's Issues http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007O46N0G

"Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil" by Lezley McSpadden

Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, who was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, has written the book; "Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy, And Love of My Son Michael Brown," which I plan to write a review of. She refers to her son as "Mike Mike" in this graphic and raw book, poignantly stating: "I'm not going to lie; I've been wanting to get mad and just go fuck the world up, because my son being killed has messed my whole life up. No way should my son have left here before me. But I have to stop myself every time my anger begins to build like that. If I look at it that way too long, I'll find myself in trouble, doing something out of rage and revenge. That would be out of character, and Mike Mike would never want me to do anything like that."

A Native American's perspective on the Cleo Wright incident

In reading the review of "The Lynching of Cleo Wright" by Dennis Moore, I could not help but compare the brutal beating, setting on fire and burning alive of Mr. Wright by vigilantes in 1940s America, to the overall history of race relations in this otherwise idyllic land with its promises of life, freedom, and the right of individuals to pursue happiness. Long before the Civil Rights Movement in which African Americans and their Euro-American sympathizers publicly demonstrated through peaceful means against the mistreatment of persons of African heritage, however, there were also atrocities against the Native American Indian. Among many is the Sand Creek Massacre of November 29, 1864 in which Indians friendly toward the U.S. government--including many women and children--were slaughtered by 675 cavalrymen. Not as well known, however, is the number of white cavalrymen who refused to take part in the slaughter. Captain Silas S. Soule and Lieutenant Joseph A. Cramer of the 1st Colorado (U.S.) Volunteer Cavalry, by conscience, refused to participate in the attack against the peaceful Sand Creek village of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. When letters surfaced that described the massacre and desecration of the bodies of Native American men, women and even unborn children, it led to two congressional committee investigations. The incident was upgraded from a battle to a massacre. After Captain Soule testified truthfully before the commissions, he was shot dead in the streets of Denver and his murderers, known by the authorities, were never brought to justice. What this incident--along with the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 and many others--demonstrates, is that there is a deep, intractable and even frightening absence of, in far too many persons of Euro-American descent, the capacity to empathize with people whose skins are of a darker hue. In its demonstration of why witnesses of conscience are sometimes too intimidated to come forward and defend what is right and just, we can only hope that when the few who do defy our human fear of retribution or ostracism by those of our own ethnicity/clique/race, it hints of a hope that that this strange propensity to fear the darker skin is finally put on the defensive, where it indeed belongs. I found in Mr. Moore's review of "The Lynching of Cleo Wright" another well-told tale of horror, another darkly riveting peek into the soul of an America that has since, outwardly at least, tamed this peculiar prejudice to a degree. Inwardly, however, this xenophobic fear still lurks just below the surface. It is what still dictates, even today, the overreactions of police, neighborhood watchmen--and those who shoot through doors when a knock and a plea for help by someone of a different hue comes in the night. KB Schaller, Author 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World

"100+ Native American Women Who Changed The World"

This is quite a revealing comment and statement by KB Schaller, the author of "100+ Native American Women Who Changed The World." The author, of Cherokee/Seminole heritage, has provided me with this groundbreaking book and social commentary which attempts to temper race relations in this country, but a particular passage in the book puts into perspective how black Americans and/or Native Americans can be so maligned. This passage, offered in the form of an apology to Native Americans by the Wesleyan Church, states: "We have seen and been told that our Native American brothers and sisters 'have something against us.' We as a denomination, organization, or individuals cannot go back and undo what has been done. We can, however, seek forgiveness and reconciliation from our brothers and sisters today. You may not feel comfortable accepting this reconciliation on behalf of all your people, but would you accept it as an individual?" The apology goes into specifics as to what the Wesleyan Church was apologizing for, as it further states: "We took your children - often by force - to 'teach' them. They were forced to change their language their language, hair, dress customs, and cultural identity." This is not too unlike how blacks were treated, but without the ensuing apology.

What are we doing about this?

Dennis thank you for the transparency in this article. Although I did not know about the former violence in our home area, I'm not surprised. Both love and hate are spiritual entities and there's always been more hatred than love in our beloved community, the Bootheel. But what is our individual response to these experiences? When will we as a race get angry enough to do something about the atrocities reeked out toward our people? Are we waiting on the sidelines until "they" do something about this problem? If that's the case, "they" never includes me or you. I've heard that statement so many times, it makes me ill. They is third person singular and they will always be someone else who needs to do something about the matter...Not me. "If not me, who? If not now, when?" I believe this is a quote from the late Robert Kennedy. It's time for us, as a people to rise up in righteous indignation and solve our own problems and stop looking to them: the government, the politicians, the entertainers and celebrities, and others, but lets take on the spirit of Rosa Parks and others, who were zietgiests,whose time had come. Our time has come for us to rise up with one voice and declare no more violence toward my people, regardless of who pulls the trigger. What can I do? What can you do? What can they do? I can humble myself and repent for the sins of my people, pray for forgiveness and reconciliation, and love my neighbor as I love myself. Those actions cost me nothing but time and commitment. Then, there are those of us who can become leaders and lead the way through information and education, become community advocates and legal strategists, etc., and then there are those of us that are too busy for any of that and they can help finance the work. It's so much to do and it's complex with a multiplicity of issues. It's too big for any one group or one individual. Whatever we can do, let's get busy doing it. Thank you Dennis for keeping us abreast of where we are, what has happened, where we're going and what needs to be done. I'm disturbed by these acts, but I'm disturbed enough to get busy and do something. Get to work people!

Ferguson, Missouri

Dorothy, in response to your inquiry as to what are we going to do, you have actually answered your question partially. Some of us can be educators to the problem or issue, as I have attempted to do here. Also, and as a number of people have pointed out recently, especially in regard to Ferguson, we can register to vote, and actually get out to vote. It certainly makes no sense to me that the police force in Ferguson, the mayor and the city council, are not reflective of the majority population. When Harold Washington became the first black mayor of Chicago, I, along with others, became a Deputy Registrar and set up tables in both of the federal buildings there and registered people to vote. I am proud of that and feel that it had a lot to do with him becoming the first black mayor of Chicago, and I saw very positive changes. That also helped pave the way for President Obama becoming a state representative in Illinois, and later Senator from Illinois, which would lead to the White House. I am almost convinced that if the leadership roles in Ferguson, Missouri was more reflective of the population, Michael Brown would be alive today. It is going to take some work, but I believe it can be done, and we all have a role and contribution to make.

The Lynching of Cleo Wright, by Dominic J. Capeci, Jr.

I just got through reading Dennis Moore book review on the above subject matter. What a great review, quite informational, and a history lesson about race relations in this country. So many parallels can be drawn from this incident and the one in Ferguson which took the life of an unarmed teenager, who seemingly was shot down like a dog. And though both deaths were tragedies, Cleo Wright's death however was very horrific, and it makes you wonder about mankind's anger and bitterness toward each other. I love history, funny though, this was my first time hearing about Cleo Wright. Based on Dennis's review, I am inclined to read more about his story and probably go out and buy the book. I always enjoy Mr. Moore book reviews, he makes you want to go out there and buy the book forthwith. In this review, I would have preferred to not see the picture of Michael Brown dead body on the street; but that's just me. Great review once again. Jacqueline Carr

U.S. WILL INVESTIGATE FERGUSON POLICE

The Justice Department will open a broad civil rights inquiry in wake of Michael Brown's killing, officials say, according to a story by Timothy M. Phillips in today's Los Angeles Times Newspaper.

Dennis Moore Book Review, "The Lynching of Cleo Wright"

Dennis Moore’s review of “The Lynching of Cleo Wright” by Dominic J. Capeci, Jr. is at once complex and simple. The names of the players in the Ferguson, Missouri incident and that of the horrific lynching of Cleo Brown in Sikeston, Missouri are different, and the incidents are some 70 years apart, but are a chorus of second verse same as the first. Reading about the two incidents gives one an eerie feeling of Déjà vu with each starting with a black man walking down the street and stopped by police. Both men end up dead. It is like a hideous rendition of the movie Ground Hog’s Day where the main character wakes up each day to find it is the same day as before. Are we stuck in a nightmarish repetitive cycle where the same events occur, to our horror, over and over? Each event is dissonant to the American dream of freedom and tempts us to turn our eyes away from it as opposed to dealing with the horror of racial violence against African Americans. If we do that we are part of those who do not know history and are doomed to repeat it. Dennis Moore has given us an added dimension to these incidents by including his personal experience from having been born in Missouri and being familiar with the characters in both incidents. This must make it especially sickening for him and I applaud him for his courage in looking into the eyes of the monster. Both incidents are murky to some extent as only the forensic evidence can tell what happened to Michael Brown exactly, and the “victims” of Cleo Wright never definitely identified him as the assailant. The thing that is certain is that two black men are dead in the same general area of the same state separated by some 70 years in the same circumstances. Given the history of lynching in the United States it is not hard to fill in the blanks. Dennis Moore concludes the review by saying, “it is a disturbing story of man’s inhumanity to man.” This same evil theme is echoed in the barrage of incidents of child sexual abuse being collected by Google in a series of Alerts distributed daily and available for all to see. I have written a book on this topic called “The Remembered Self” which will shortly be available on Amazon. My book and the Google Alerts resonate with the Missouri incidents. This morning I read about a ten year old girl brutally raped after school and left soaking in a pool of her own blood, like Michael Brown. She died too. I read of another incident where 1400 children were sexually exploited and trafficked and some were “doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight….” And forced to watch brutally violent rapes after having been raped by multiple perpetrators and trafficked to other areas for additional sexual assaults. Secrecy, repression of evidence, refusal of authorities to act, holding onto violent patterns of behavior all lead to the same destination. Hell on earth. Everyone who is brutalized makes it that much darker for the rest of us. Think about it. Do something positive to help.

"Foreign media see U.S. hypocrisy in Ferguson"

Russia and others use the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri to lecture America about human rights, according to a story by Julie Makinen recently in the Los Angeles Times. Amnesty International has sent monitors to the scene. Palestinians are tweeting advice on how to cope with tear gas. Tibetan monks have shown up to offer prayers. Russian officials, Iran's official news agency and China's state-run media are offering lectures on human rights abuses. What started as a small-town police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black man in suburban St. Louis has quickly become an international incident. This was also the case in 1942 when Cleo Wright, already with 8 bullet holes in him from the police, was dragged from his jail cell in Sikeston, Missouri, tied to the back of a car, and dragged through the streets of Sikeston and doused with gasoline in front of a black church in worship services and burned to death. China's state-run New China News Agency said in a commentary published recently, just hours before Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered National Guard troops into the city: "The Ferguson incident once again demonstrates that even in a country that has for years tried to play the role of an international human rights judge and defender, there is still much room for improvement at home." It further stated: "Obviously, what the United States needs to do is to concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others." The story by Makinen in the LA Times indicates that Russian officials have taken an even more strident tone - perhaps not surprising, given the toxic atmosphere between Moscow and Washington of late.Taking note of the unrest in Ferguson, the Foreign Ministry urged "our American partners to pay more attention to restoring order in their own country before imposing their dubious experience on other nations." The United States "has positioned itself as a 'bastion of human rights' and is actively engaged in 'export of democracy' on a systematic basis," but "serious violations of basic human rights and barbaric practices thrive" in the country, Moscow said in remarks responding to a United Nations committee on racial discrimination. Nothing could be more barbaric than Cleo Wright being tied to the back of a car and dragged through the streets of Sikeston, then doused with 5 gallons of gasoline and set on fire!