Essay from Michael Robinson

The Mob    

April 4, 1968   

Elderly white woman in a blue dress next to an older middle aged Black man in a striped tee shirt, hugging in a pool lounge area.
Michael Robinson, right, with fellow contributor Joan Beebe

Emmett Till, a 14-year-old young black male was beaten, mutilated, and lynched, and shot in the head. He was tied down to a cotton gin-fan and thrown in the Tallahassee River near Money, Mississippi. His crime was that he was accused of flirting with a white woman in a family grocery store. He was abducted four days later. Emmett Till was murdered on August 28, 1955. The lynching of black people (men and women) by the Ku Klux Klan is a great part of America’s history. The lynching of Emmett Till brought lynching to the forefront in America’s national conscience. What has provoked such resentment towards nonwhite races? Issues of injustice, racism, and violence have always been directed towards black Americans. Yet, many black Americans, fought, suffered, and died, for the honor to be an American citizen.  The country learning of Emmett’s fate was outraged. If one is lynched, then no American is safe. Over the years people forgot about the difficulty of the Black Americans.

I was ten years old at the time. The fear and the tightness in my stomach caused me to vomit violently. The mob prowled the city with taunts of “Burn this motherfucker down, burn baby burn!” was the rallying cry, in addition, they repeated “if you don’t have “soul brother” on your door, we’ll burn your house down.” It was April 14, 1968, Martin Luther King had been assassinated. Days later blacks looted and set fire throughout neighborhoods in the nation’s capital. The police and national guards watched the mob devastate the community. The mob set out to destroy and threaten to kill other blacks. My foster father frantically used one sheet of my notebook paper and wrote the words with black shoe polish. “Soul brother” taping it to the front door. Like in the capital riots the mob menaced everyone in the capital that day. 

The Mob    

January 6th, 2021   

“Hang Mike Pence!” they hollered repeatedly. A mob of white supremacists and white nationalists. All of them sent to the nation’s capital by former president Donald J. Trump. The violence and racism have grown in America under the presidency of Donald Trump. Now not only nonwhite races but our government leaders are targets of aggression.   

The white mob erected a gallows on the capitol grounds, while they continued to search the capital looking for Vice president Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to murder them both. Lawmakers were also sought by the intruders in the capital that dreadful day. No one was safe from certain death. This coup led by Donald Trump to maintain power as he was voted out of the presidency in the November elections of 2020. The white mob attacked law enforcement officers on the capitol grounds leaving one officer killed and many severely injured all in the name of white nationalism.   

Adolf Hitler told the German people the lie that it was the Jewish people who were responsible for the predicament of the German nation. Six-million Jews died in concentration camps known as death camps. Adolf Hitler used this hate of the Jewish people to be a dictator. Donald Trump uses the dogma that other races are the enemy. Fear and hate are used by Trump to usurp our democracy. Trump uses deception, hatred, and dread to be a clone of Adolf Hitler.    

 I remember hiding from the black mob in 1968 was a horrific experience. Hearing the story of those lawmakers and staff and others in the capital on January 6th and their recounting the “booming” sounds of glass breaking and banging on the doors by a rabid mob of the crazed white supremacists. Many said that they called their love one to say a final goodbye.

The trauma of facing death as a mob searched for them while destroying everything in their path. It is this violence that never resends in one’s memories. It is sadness and anger that I feel for all those that had to endure such an event in their lives. I walked through the rubble of the riots in a state of shock for years to come. Life seemed surreal to me and death was intimate at that time.  My world had been ravaged by the mob like those in the capital on January 6th.    

The white supremacist destroyed many irreplaceable artworks in the house of the people. Leaving urine and feces on the walls and floors and artwork as reported. Reminding me of the night that the black mob ravaged my neighborhood. Recalling the shouts “Burn this motherfucker down!” Those words echoed in my thoughts for many decades. The insurrectionist shouted for what seemed like an eternity to hang Mike Pence. Hunting our elected officials to hang or execute them is the action of barbarians to commit atrocities against Americans. Led by a psychopathic and sociopathic, and egomaniac racist Donald J. Trump. It does not take courage to be a racist it takes valor to uphold the virtues of being a patriotic American.    

It was revealed that a black capital police officer broke down and wept after the melee said, “Is this America?” Men and women of the capitol police and metropolitan police braved the onslaught of a “murderous” mob of violent white extremists.  Three officers ended up dead from that day. Many survived because of the heroism of those officers protecting them and our capital and democracy.  This “Is America.” An America where courage and dedication to protecting our democratic way of life. The insurrection on January 6th, 2021 will remain one of America’s harrowing moments.   

      Note: Black Americans have lived through the nightmare of being murdered for decades. Black Americans’ pleas have gone unheard. Martin Niemöller wrote, “First they came for the Socialist, and I did not speak out….”     Black Americans have been speaking out for decades and now that the violence has come to the capital of the nation. People now realize that white supremacist are a menace to our nation. Martin Niemöller continued, ‘…when they came for me there was no one left to speak out.”