"It don’t hold me now": The Girls of the Leesburg Stockade
July 22, 2016 12:09 PM   Subscribe

In 1963, more than a dozen African American girls, aged 13-15, were held in a stockade for two months. Their crime: demonstrating for integration in Americus, Georgia.

More of the photographs captured by SNCC photographer Danny Lyon. Timeline and recollections of the Civil Rights protests in Americus, Ga.
posted by drlith (20 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
This country keeps breaking my heart.
posted by reedcourtneyj at 12:28 PM on July 22, 2016 [10 favorites]

Yes, it does. Not only were a group of minors held in jail without charges for 45 days, their parents weren't notified (until the local dogcatcher passed the word along), and the conditions were absolutely inhumane. Their only water was from a dirty, dripping showerhead (and only 3 cups for 30 kids), they had no beds or mattresses, and their only toilet was broken. Honestly, for me, the worst picture in that second link was the one of the toilet - it's horrifying to imagine what it must have been like in there.

And the parents had to pay a boarding fee after they were released.

It's hard to think about how relatively recent all this was.
posted by telepanda at 12:39 PM on July 22, 2016 [7 favorites]

A (conservative) friend of mine occasional talks about reparations, and about how they aren't appropriate. I respond to him that there are plenty or reparations that are needed for crimes against African-Americans that are still alive today.

Yes, give these women the congressional medal of honor, but for the love of justice, also give all these women a healthy amount of reparations (that includes free life-long therapy); it won't undo the injustices that were done to them, but it's better than what they got (charged for their torture).

Also, if any of the people that were responsible for their kidnapping are still around; they should be charged with kidnapping of children - because that's what happened.*

I opened an incognito window to google 'statue of limitations for kidnapping a minor'; there is no limit to how long this can be prosecuted as a federal crime
posted by el io at 12:50 PM on July 22, 2016 [27 favorites]

Uh, due process anyone?
posted by jim in austin at 12:50 PM on July 22, 2016

It's hard to think about how relatively recent all this was.

It hit home just how recent it was when I saw on the linked site a few pictures of Charles Sherrod, who is the husband of Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA official which the Obama administration disgraced itself by firing in response to doctored Breitbart footage six years ago.
posted by enn at 12:55 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Listening to an NPR podcast today, and they had interviews with RNC convention goers, asking "If we're going to make America great again, when was America last great?" So many of those fools answered with "the late fifties" or "post-war America". This, here, is the nation; the ideals they were praising. This is what they want to return to.

It's infuriating to think the children of the victimizers in this narrative are still free. If we can prosecute war criminals after the fact, why can't we prosecute domestic human rights abusers after the fact?
posted by constantinescharity at 1:25 PM on July 22, 2016 [17 favorites]

Wait, what? Why should we lock up the perpatrators' children?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:35 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I believe constantinescharity meant to say the victimizers of the children, not the children of the victimizers.
posted by ChrisHartley at 1:37 PM on July 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Shaking my head in shame. How can we even pretend like we treat people with respect.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:38 PM on July 22, 2016

The older I get, the more I come to the conclusion that we need to Carthago Delenda Est this place. Burn it to the ground and salt the earth behind it.
posted by Sphinx at 1:48 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

This nation began with plunder, killing, slavery, well before the 1776 Revolution...see for example, King Phillips War. It never ceased doing the terrible things that we do not really teach in our schools, and we refer constantly to our Founding Fathers, most of whom disliked the lower classes, and kept slaves, and grabbed land from the native Americans...quick timeline:
I was in the American army and leaving on a bus from Ft Lee, Virginia, was told I could not sit in the back of the bus. That,said the driver, was for "colored." The year? 1947. Called back in the army for the Korean War (1950), the armed forces were integrated. Not so the South till 1957.
Faulkner had said slavery was a stain on America that would never go away. Malcolm X noted during a bad time: the chickens have come home to roost.
posted by Postroad at 2:00 PM on July 22, 2016 [10 favorites]

Oh jesus yeah complete brain fart there. I meant the victimizers of the children.
posted by constantinescharity at 2:06 PM on July 22, 2016

Wow. My dad would have been eight years old around this time, and his family was living in Plains, Georgia (next door to Jimmy Carter, actually.) I'm pretty sure he didn't know anything about this- all he's told me and my sister about that period of time in the South is that his parents taught him and his sisters not to discriminate against anyone based on their skin color. Not a very popular view at the time.
posted by mollywas at 2:10 PM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is the kind of thing that I can't even read without having to spend the rest of the day in bed afterward. Thanks very much for posting it, though. Reading the discussion here is about as close to this as I can get without hurting myself, and it's important to know about this stuff. Hearing about things like this (and the similar things that still happen today) reminds me of the very end of Kurt Vonnegut's Deadeye Dick.

You want to know something? We are still in the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages—they haven't ended yet.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:34 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ohh, I am so glad there's more attention being paid to this. I first heard about it a year or so ago and was stunned to find so little information about it online. Basically a news article from years ago with a couple of the victims, and what's on the CRMVet.org website (which is full of really heartbreaking and great personal accounts and deserves your clicks). It's monstrous.
posted by schroedinger at 3:20 PM on July 22, 2016

What's it going to take for this country to purge itself of hate? These poor women. Jesus christ.
posted by the thought-fox at 3:40 PM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Never heard of this. Thanks for posting.
posted by stargell at 9:19 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

‘What kind of bird don't fly?’ and then somebody said, ‘A jail bird!’ And then they all run away. One of the girls got agitated about that. And I went to her and I said don't let it bother you because they don't understand. I said what we did we did it not for us but for everybody.”

When I realize how my life is different (I was born in the 70s) - as is the life of my two year old daughter (who just had me blow on her fish sticks because they were too hot before running back to watch Doc McStuffins)- because of the bravery and awareness of 13 and 15 year old girls and others like them who were literally thinking of us and our right to justice before we were born, and I am beyond words and beyond gratitude. I'm just flattened.

I imagine that the only thing that possibly all Americans can agree on is that this has (also) been a difficult time for us as a country, though we may vehemently disagree on the root cause. To be reminded that individual and collective acts of courage are possible even in the most distressing and frightening of times is a meaningful touchstone to me.

Thank you for sharing this - this didn't reach my ears before.
posted by anitanita at 6:06 PM on July 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

The conversation about reparations needs to go beyond slavery to examples like this. The people alive today who suffered under segregation should receive restitution for the injustices it created.
posted by humanfont at 11:26 AM on July 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Does anyone know why a civil suit isn't still an option? Seems to me the entire county/state budget should just be a smoking crater in the ground from paying out judgments to the survivors and their heirs. Similar injustices took place all over the country and there are more than a few brilliant lawyers who are willing to work on commission so I assume there must be some sort of statue of limitations or similar barrier to civil suits for the injustices/kidnapping/murder/torture of Jim Crow.
posted by ChrisHartley at 10:13 AM on July 31, 2016

« Older Rubber Johnny II: Electric Boogaloo   |   A useful tool for meetings. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments