Though their son was found on January 11, 2013, they continually – his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and strangers – converged on the downtown Valdosta courthouse demanding justice.
Several members, including his parents and aunt were arrested in April for a formal, concerted show of Civil Disobedience, all 7 arrested for peacefully obstructing entry into the courthouse doors.
This takes me back to my childhood when my father’s coverage of 5 young black men were being held for a murder my father didn’t believe they had committed. The local sheriff told my father he wanted to throw him in the cell next to them and the next day his instructions were to write a story that would portray them the way the sheriff and many of the townspeople desired to see them.
Instead, he wrote a piece about his conversations with the men and overheard their prayers as they huddled privately together saying that God knew they didn’t do what they were accused of.
The front page Sunday paper’s headlines did not reflect the angry sheriff’s wishes and the men, who came to be known as “The Dawson 5” following this period of their lives, were released.
Although no one was ever charged with the murder, it was alleged in the murmurings of small town talk that the murdered victim had been killed by a best friend over a petty argument.
Naturally, both were white and the Dawson 5, black.
Good Ole Dixie.