Ron Herd II/R2C2H2 Tha Artivist
W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News
The Home Of 21st Century Citizen Journalism
“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.” ~Frederick Douglass
“Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.”
“The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.” ~H. L. Mencken
Last week was really incredible in terms of the response generated by last week’s press release/article concerning alleged lynch mob activity in the small Mississippi Delta town of Sumner in Tallahatchie County. Anything involving the rather touchy or sensitive issue/element of race can definitely draw/fire passions from every quarter of our diverse yet polarized society whether you are Black or white, Nationalist or Supremacist, liberal or conservative and so on. I am glad to report that all interactions so far on the internet have been very civil and thoughtful. I would encourage everyone to read the comments left on the original blog post to get an idea of the dialogue being started and would encourage everyone to leave their thoughts as well for the historical record.
We found out last week that there is a federal investigation being jointly conducted and headed by the FBI and U.S. Justice Department currently looking into the events surrounding said lynch mob incident. Even longtime U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson, who represents Tallahatchie County, has weighed in on the matter and personally asked the assistance of the Attorney General Eric Holder led U.S. Justice Department. Several papers in the Mississippi Delta (some links of those articles will be included in this release) as well as Jackson, MS’s Clarion Ledger have also provided another perspective on the events of August 20, 2009. Even the Associated Press has provided an article.
But the real hero in getting the word out has been the information super highway a.k.a. the internet. The real fourth estate, the internet allowed W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News the privilege to relay the story a.s.a.p. to friends, foes, social networking sites and other media outlets who in turn spread it out even further…Unfortunately, it’s a give in that the bad and sensationalized news can travel faster than the good news, but it was truly good news that the bad news got out at all!!! If this was 12-15 years ago no one outside of the Mississippi Delta would have probably heard this story at all without the aid of corporate news media….By the way the corporate news media only reports less than 1% of the actual news going on in the world today…We need more citizen journalists!!!
With that said I knew it was my responsibility to get involved, even without being a witness to the incident or knowing all the facts as I write this even now...All I know is that I did not want to regret this years later if I knew that there was a wrong that could have been righted, but wasn’t out of my own fear and/or cowardice…I do not want to be one of those people who will have to tell another generation to wait for glory or the quote right time unquote to make things right. MLK said it best when he wrote ‘wait means never!!!’ It is always the right time to do the right thing and I encourage everyone reading this to get up and fight for what is just, fair and right! As they say bad things tend to happen when good people do nothing…
This past weekend was the 54th Anniversary of Emmett Till’s martyrdom in the same county where this alleged incident took place. The accused, John Whitten III, is the son of one of the lawyers (John Whitten Jr.) who defended Emmett Till’s murderers. He is currently the city lawyer of Tutwiler, MS. The city lawyer for Tutwiler before John Whitten III was Harvey Henderson, his father’s partner in the defense of Emmett Till’s murderers…
With that said this coincidental connection to a tragic past injustice should not be held against Mr. Whitten III. However, what he should be held accountable for are his own actions and character. From what I have gathered from e-mails, the internet, phone calls and even the internet radio podcast show we did last week is that Mr. Whitten III has a prolific track record when it comes to questionable character and ethics as it relates to law and order. Here is what we know…So far:
• During the incredible podcast show last week, a caller who identified himself as a White male with ties to Sumner, MS, told our listening audience that Whitten not only possessed an impressive collection of antique military weaponry and vehicles but also live cannons! The White male went on to say that he knew Mr. Whitten for almost 30 years and that he is known for using his weapons for his own ends outside of the law. He also said that Whitten allowed him to even use some of his weaponry for ‘recreational activities.’
• That on one occasion Whitten allegedly and unapologetically used the n-word severally times before Attorney Ellis Pittman, the father of the alleged nearly lynched victim, in a judge’s chamber. His alleged reason was that his grandfather was allowed or permitted to say it in court.
• Whitten was tried by the Mississippi State Supreme Court for allegedly kidnapping and torturing three white male youths ‘for trespassing’ in the mid 1990s. Instead of being disbarred or removed from the bench as a municipal judge, Whitten was actually fined $2,500 for the incident. Please read the whole disturbing account on the official Mississippi State Supreme Court website:
• The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms) raided Whitten's property, found and seized illegal assault weapons in his possession. Allegedly the late Jamie Whitten, his uncle and one of the most powerful and longest serving (53 years) congressman in United States Congressional history, gave him the political insulation and access to obtain all kinds of weaponry.
• According to one source, Whitten allegedly is a leader of the Tallahatchie Militia, “a group of white men with guns that the law seems not to be able to control.”
There is more!!! I would encourage everyone to listen to last week’s podcast for more info on Whitten and the alleged lynch mob case in Sumner, MS:
This Wednesday Sept. 2, 2009, @ 9PM Central/10PM Eastern W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio will have a town hall style show where citizens of Tallahatchie County will air their grievances about the recent lynch mob incident as well as provide other alleged incidents where Mr. Whitten III and his cronies abused their powers and violated the civil rights of certain citizens as well as ‘the spirit of the law’ in Tallahatchie County. Please feel free to join the conversation by calling 646-652-4593 and by listening to the show online at the following link:
Another concern is what happened to the 2nd burglary suspect and targeted victim in this lynch mob incident, McKeel Smith? McKeel Smith as I write this has not still been heard from in any capacity by certain participants involved in this story. I am personally concerned about his safety and truly hoped that he is in a safe place getting the assistance and attention that his current situation warrants.
Here are some different perspectives on the incident from different news sources:
The Greenwood Commonwealth Coverage Of "Mob Rule In Sumner, MS" Incident...
The Clarion Ledger's Coverage Of "Mob Rule In Sumner, MS" Incident...
The Associated Press Coverage Of "The Mob Rule In Sumner, MS" Incident...
And lest we forget…