Mississippi hate-crime a sign state hasn’t gotten over its prejudice

James Craig Anderson
If the perpetrators in Jackson, Miss. were old guys who lived back when it was in vogue to suppress and even kill blacks, one might assume the hate just hadn’t worked itself out because of their age.  But the murder of African-American James Craig Anderson was committed by 3 racist goons aged 19, 20 and 19, who are, or were, just beginning their lives.  Where did they get their training for this heinous crime, and what kind of Mississippi household still produces this kind of maniac?
I grew up in the South, lived in Mississippi several years, experiencing the kind of hatred these 3 nutcases must have harbored for blacks.  But that was in the 40s and 50s, when it was open-season in that part of the country on anyone of color, or who was just different.  Prejudice was rampant but, fortunately, I had someone to compensate for the hate; a black man I looked up to with the same respect of any white person.  He was called simply Man and worked for my uncle.
This all started when I noticed Man always entered my uncle’s house through the back door.  Not yet in my teens, I still realized there was something wrong with this and asked him why he did it.  His answer was simple and to the point: he said it was to keep other people from thinking he thought he was good enough to enter through the front door.  In other words, my uncle didn’t care but the folks across the street would think he was “uppity.”
I told him I couldn’t believe what he was saying and, rather than talk about how naïve I was, he took time to explain the situation.  Although I had witnessed Negros—as Man identified himself in those days—going to the back of the bus and generally acting subservient to whites, somehow the severity of the issue didn’t register with me until explained by man.  There was absolutely no bitterness in his explanation, just the tone of acceptance, which I couldn’t accept.
Deryl Dedman
Man told me he thought it would get better over the years but, obviously, he was wrong.  The three young punks, above, just returned Mississippi to the days of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American, who was murdered in 1955 because of reportedly flirting with a white woman.  Deryl Dedmon, who drove the truck that killed Anderson, 47, pleaded guilty to murder and hate crime, admitting everything to Judge Jeff Weill who sentenced him to two concurrent life terms.
The judge added, “Whatever excuse you offer, forget that. There is no excuse. The state of Mississippi condemns this despicable crime.”  In another comment by Weill, “This craven act isn’t who we are.”  Dedmond responded, “I wish I could take it all back.  I was young and dumb, ignorant and full of hatred. I chose to go down the wrong path.”  Later, he indicated that he had found God, which seems to happen when they are cornered like this, but, unfortunately, a little too late.



James Craig Anderson murder scene



James Craig Anderson was severely beaten and when that wasn’t enough, Dedmon ran over him with his truck and left him to die.  Hinds County DA Robert Schuler Smith says, they “went out with the intention to harm and, in this case, kill a black man.”  They drove all the way from Brandon, Miss. to Jackson just to carry out their crime which shows the amount of planning and preparation these racists put into the act.  More grist for just how deep these feelings must run today.

The other two culprits were Dylan Butler, 20, and John Aaron Rice 19; the former has been charged with assault, the latter has pleaded not guilty.  Now here is what makes me wonder if Miss. will ever learn its lesson, taken from a CNN account below of the incident.
Shortly afterward, Dedmon allegedly boasted and laughed about the killing.  “I ran that nigger over.”
“He was not remorseful,” DA Smith said. “He was laughing, laughing about the killing.”
Federal investigators also have been digging for months into other possible crimes in the area committed by Dedmon and others that might show a pattern of racial violence.
Morris Dees, chief trial counsel for The Southern Poverty Law Center, said, “James Anderson lost his life for no other reason than the color of his skin.  Those responsible must be held accountable for their callous and deadly actions. We are filing this lawsuit today to ensure his family gets a measure of justice.”
The remaining question is whether the state of Mississippi should be held accountable for allowing this young person to harbor this kind of racial hate?

Read more here.

2 thoughts on “Mississippi hate-crime a sign state hasn’t gotten over its prejudice”

  1. “We are filing this lawsuit today to ensure his family gets a measure of justice.”

    Here we go again. Whatever Anderson's family gets it won't be cash. Morris Dees will exploit yet another black murder victim for his own purposes. It works like this:

    1. Murderous, ignorant thugs attack and or kill a minority.

    2. Said thugs are sentenced to long prison sentences by the criminal justice system.

    3. Morris Dees files a civil law suit after the thugs are in prison, cranks up his multimillion dollar publicity machine, sends out hundreds of thousands of donation letters.

    4. Judge awards the plaintiffs an astronomical settlement that the defendants are in no position whatsoever to pay.

    5. Plaintiffs receive little cash, if any, but the SPLC rakes in millions in donations and free publicity, of which the plaintiffs receive exactly zero.

    Dees perfected this technique back in 1984 when he sued the Klan for the wrongful death of Michael Donald. The judge awarded Donald's mother $7 million dollars but all she got was a Klan warehouse worth $52,000.

    As Ken Silverstein reported in Harper's Magazine, the SPLC's publicity campaign, which included a gory photo of Michael Donald's corpse, brought in more than $9 million dollars in donations. Mrs. Donald never saw a cent of that money.

    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-aq

    How much money does Dees hope to wring out of these teenage punks?

    Like

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