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  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: September 2017

7 - At the Altar

Summary

Resolved, That the Senate1)

Apologizes to the victims of lynching for the failure of the Senate to enact anti-lynching legislation;

2)

Expresses the deepest sympathies and most solemn regrets … to the descendants of victims of lynching …

3)

Remembers the history of lynching, to ensure that these tragedies will be neither forgotten nor repeated.

U. S. Senate Resolution 39, June 13, 2005

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’”

Christian Bible KJV, Matthew, 23:29–30

*

                 Early one of these mornings
           God’s a-going to call for Gabriel,
              That tall, bright angel, Gabriel;
        And God’s a-going to say to him: Gabriel,
                    Blow your silver trumpet,
                 And wake the living nations.
           And Gabriel’s going to ask him: Lord,
                    How loud must I blow it?
      James Weldon Johnson, God’s Trombones1

* * *

260On the third Sunday after Easter in 1899 about forty miles southwest of Atlanta in Newnan, Georgia, a white crowd burned to death a fugitive black laborer known as Sam Hose. This atrocity blended anger, hatred, arrogance, festivity, brutality and satisfaction into a mood just beyond comprehension. “Glory!” shouted an excited man enraptured by the intensity of the moment, “Glory be to God!!” Others saw Crucifixion.