Keith Adams was recalling to the Texas Tribune about his memories of a man named James Byrd Jr.
“He was a clown,” Adams said. “Always singing, always doing impersonations. He said he was going to make history.”
Well, Byrd made history all right. Three racist pigs chained him to the back of a pickup and dragged him about three miles down a remote Piney Woods road. Byrd’s body was decapitated and mutilated.
The reason for the incident? James Byrd was a Black man. His attackers sought him out as a target because of his race.
The crime put Jasper, Texas, on the map. It elevated the discussion of hate crimes to a national level. It was hoped — perhaps even thought — that Texas could lead the way out of the racist darkness that continues to shroud so many Americans.
Oh, no! Instead, Texas now can claim to be No. 1 nationally in the incidents of white supremacist incidents.
Two of the three men convicted of killing Byrd have been executed by the state. The third killer got a life sentence and will rot in prison for the rest of his time on Earth.
The Tribune reports: “We can’t just say that what happened to James is another day in Jasper,” said Louvon Byrd Harris, Byrd’s sister, who is 65 years old and the youngest of eight siblings. “As of now, we are on our own to keep his memory alive.”
Twenty-five has passed since James Byrd Jr. died at the hands of those monsters. Some things have changed, for the better. We have newer hate crimes laws on the books. Sadly, they haven’t deterred the haters from spreading their filth.
Just as sad to this Texas resident is that my state is leading the way down that path … straight into the sewer.