The Writing of
Michelle Duster
1893 - Michelle's Writing

From Ida In Her Own Words, written in 2008
by Michelle Duster

            As different as the life experiences that Ida and I had, what struck me most while typing her words from Lynch Law was how much there are still some of the same struggles.  Black men are still being used as scapegoats for crimes they didn’t commit.  I remember the almost mob-like frenzy to get the Black men who beat and raped the white, female Central Park jogger in 1989.  Five Black teenage males were arrested and convicted of the crime.  They served 7-11 years for a crime they didn’t commit.  In 2002, those five men were released after the one man who actually committed the crime was convicted.

I think about Susan Smith of South Carolina, accusing an imaginary Black man of kidnapping and killing her two children in 1994, when she in fact drowned them.  I think about the unarmed West African man, Amadou Diallo, who died in 1999 from a hail of over 40 bullets fired by police in Harlem because they thought his wallet was a gun.  Then, most recently in 2006, in the small town of Jena, Louisiana six Black males were arrested and originally charged with attempted murder for fighting a white male classmate, who went to a school event later that same evening. Several months later, community outrage brought attention to the contrast between the harsh treatment of the Black boys versus the lack of criminal charges brought against the white boys who were involved in earlier provocative incidents. The charges against the Black youth were later dropped or reduced.

I think about how many times my own brothers, cousins and friends have experienced blatant harassment from police because they were young Black males.  For that reason only, they were viewed as “suspect” and treated in such a manner. I realize that the struggle is not over. 








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