So Mark Bunster lives in Richmond, VA! My poem on monuments to
Confederate generals, posted previously, was titled: "New Trial
in Richmond." It was prompted by an extraordinary event in 1951,
a "pilgrimage" of 500 people from all over the country, about
equally Black and white, of whom I was one, seeking to save the
lives of the Martinsville Seven, African-Americans executed for
the rape of a white woman (evidence indicated simply an act of
prostitution) in a state where no white had ever been put to
death for rape in its entire history. The event was remarkable
not only because it was a decade earlier than the Freedom Rides
but particularly because the welcome by and militancy of the
local Black community had no precedent in the formerly
secessionist states since the Populists half a century earlier.
Permit another stanza:
And I shall sit on that Court some day
not with bowed and bended head to pray
as we did through many a winter night
beneath that Tree, in a losing fight,
`` but, lessons learned and battle done,
Our Court shall call them one by one,
Governor, President, judges gray,
whose hands took seven lives away
to keep a people bound in fear,
to hold the line that awful year
when Negroes fought a kindred race
and bound themselves to a lesser place.
The last two lines pertain to the Korean War.
I give fifteen pages to the Martinsville-Richmond struggle in
Saying No To Power because it is a chapter in African-American
history not described in any other book as far as I am aware. I
reproduce a photo of us in a church from the contemporary
Richmond Afro-American because of a line in that paper's caption,
reading: "Note that colored and white are sitting side by side
and not in segregated sections as they did at the recent Marian
Anderson concert at the Mosque Theatre."
Mark Bunster wrote:
> > Mbunster believes the dead should be honored "because they obeyed their
> > country and served their duties, many of them dying for it," and for
> > this, "they deserve respect." That is the tragic pattern that has come
> > down through the ages, exemplified in the phrase, "For king and
> > country," and will be the excuse for the next Vietnam.
> Once again, I did not say this. Please be careful in reading the
> messages, in attempting to attribute them.
> I merely said that there are lots of Confederate memorials in the South,
> without any judgement of them whatsoever. That said, a friend of mine
> and I here in Richmond ejoy referring to Monument Avenue as "The Avenue
> of Second Place Trophies." And I find it bemusing that no one, black or
> white, seems to enjoy the inclusion of Arthur Ashe among them, figuring
> that either Ashe or the rest, respectively, are sullied by it.
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