In Nelson Peery’s Black Radical, Peery details his life fighting for the liberation of working-class people world wide. Peery who fought in a segregated Black infantry division in WW2, details the horrific violence and death that returning WW2 black veterans were met with at the hand of white mobs. Between June 1945 and September 1946, not a week went by without a lynching or other mob violence. During this time 56 Black veterans were lynched by white mobs.
This is one improvement, I thought. There are not mobs of regular-joe white people just up and offing black people for fun.
George William’s story, recently published in the New York Times, jarred me into consciousness of the reality that hundreds of thousands of men and women live and die everyday in America’s prisons. The angry white mobs I had imagined gone were actually employed in America’s prisons where they terrorize,beat and murder Black and Brown people legally and with impunity.
PEOPLE. Because “inmate” “convict” prisoner” “criminal” normalize and justify the immoral imprisonment, torture and murder of fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, sons and daughters.
George Williams was arrested for robbing a jewelry store. Slave wages and pervasive unemployment makes such action necessary for survival. He was sentenced to 2-4 years in a Maximum Security Prison. An outrageous repercussion when the wealthy white men who caused and benefited from the 2008 financial crash that harmed billions of people are free to lounge in their 3rd vacation homes.
George Williams was keeping to himself in his cell at Attica Correctional Facility when four white guards ordered him to strip for a search. Under the false pretenses of a drug test they took him to another room and beat him until he couldn’t walk. At one point they invited other guards to join in the fun. Up to 12 other white guards were witnessed. White Mob Violence.
With no rights that this land of democracy is bound to respect, men, women and children behind bars suffer brutal state sanctioned violence at the hands of guards everyday.
George Williams was left with horrific injuries that included a broken shoulder, two broken legs, multiple cracked ribs, broken eye socket, huge amount of blood lodged in his maxillary sinus, and cuts and bruises all over his body.
He was so close to death the prison infirmary didn’t admit him and ordered him to an outside hospital. The first hospital also turned him away because his injuries were too severe for them to treat.
That night the necessity of liberation for Black and Brown people agitated my mind and kept sleep at bay. I was overwhelmed by the necessity of action because our existence depends on it.
From the cells of Attica and Rikers and Guantanamo, to the mines of South Africa, to Ethiopia, to Pine Ridge, to Zimbabwe, to Gaza, to Haiti, to the Congo, to Myanmar, to Nicaragua, to Eritrea, to Mexico, to Ferguson, to Iraq, to Peru, to Guatemala, to China, to Afghanistan, to Vietnam, to India, to Somalia, we are struggling for survival. Our existence–our safe healthy happy existence–makes taking action a necessity.
To the white people who have acquired the children of Black and Brown people thru adoption: Why don’t you feel this necessity that we do? How can you claim to love Black children without loving Black humanity? How can you claim love while refusing to acknowledging the role you hold in our oppression with your active indifference? How can you claim to love the Black and Brown children in your care without taking action to eradicate the white-supremacist+misogynist+capitalist system that is detrimental to their safe healthy and happy existence?
As for George Williams, he suffers a leg that is constantly bothering him, headaches, sinus damage, and PTSD. He is plagued by nightmares. “I still can’t sleep” he told the New York Times.