We Will Remember
Warren Powell, 9/4/1989; Bud Cotton, 3/16/1899; Edward Brown, 3/16/1899; Henry Bingham, 3/16/1899; John Bigby, 3/16/1899; Tip Hutson, 3/16/1899; Sterling Thompson, 1/3/1901; Floyd Carmichael, 7/13/1906.
Annie Shepherd, 9/22/1906; Frank Smith, 9/22/1906; Leola Maddow, 9/22/1906; Milton Brown, 9/22/1906; Will Marion, 9/22/1906; William Welch, 9/22/1906.
Unknown, 9/22-25/1906; Unknown, 9/22-25/1906; Unknown, 9/22-25/1906; Unknown, 9/22-25/1906; Unknown, 9/22-25/1906; Unknown, 9/22-25/1906; Unknown, 9/22-25/1906; Unknown, 9/22-25/1906; Unknown, 9/22-25/1906; Unknown, 9/22-25/1906; Unknown, 9/22-25/1906.
Clem Rhodes, 9/24/1906; Frank Fambro, 9/14/1906; Sam Magruder, 9/24/1906; Zeb Long, 9/24/1906; George Wilder, 9/25/1906; James Fletcher, 9/25/1906; Sam Robinson, 9/25/1906; Will Moreland, 9/25/1906.
Thomas Finch, 9/12/1936; Mack Brown, 12/23/1936.
The names, known and unknown, on this long list have several things in common. They were all African American citizens of Fulton County. And they all were lynched, targeted victims of racial violence.
I came across these names when I, with others from St. Dunstan’s, made a recent visit to the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, informally known as “the lynching memorial.”
The aim of the memorial is to remember by name, if possible, the victims of lynching in this country from the period after the Civil War and Reconstruction through 1950, the beginning of the Civil Rights era.
“Lynchings in America were not isolated hate crimes committed by rogue vigilantes, Lynchings were targeted racial violence perpetrated to uphold an unjust social order. Lynchings were terrorism,” a plaque at the beginning of the memorial says.
“We believe that telling the truth about the age of racial terror and reflecting together on this period and its legacy can lead to a more thoughtful and informed commitment to justice today.”
The result is overwhelming. The memorial consists of 800 weathered steel columns hanging from the roof, one for each county in 12 southern states where lynchings occurred. (Racial lynchings were not limited to the South, of course. There is also a column for each non-Southern state in which there were lynchings).
Etched in each column is the name of the county, and the names (if known) of those who were lynched, and the dates the murders occurred.
Georgia was one of the deadliest states for lynchings, and Fulton County led the way with at least 34 names. You may notice that many of the names (known and unknown) are clustered around the dates September 22-25, 1906.
Those were the dates of the Atlanta race riots, four days of terror when the black community was under attack from mobs of armed white people. The riots began after a newspaper published unsubstantiated reports that four white women had been assaulted by black men.
In response, the mobs of whites attacked black neighborhoods and businesses, pulling people from homes, businesses, and street cars, hanging them from street lamps and beating, shooting, and burning people to death.
The memorial’s Fulton County column lists 25 victims of those riots (11 names unknown), but estimates of deaths run as high as 100.
On the grounds of the memorial, duplicates of each column are stacked up like coffins. The hope is that each county represented will claim its column, and erect it somewhere in the county.
Lucy Kaltenbach and I are part of the Fulton County Remembrance Coalition, looking at options for bringing the column here. Meetings are in the very early stages, but I am glad St. Dunstan’s will be part of the effort.
I know that there are those who would rather not remember this shameful part of our history. These words engraved on a marble wall at the end of the memorial remind us why it is important to remember:
For the hanged and beaten.
For the shot, drowned, and burned.
For the tortured, tormented, and terrorized.
For those abandoned by the rule of law.
We will remember.
With hope because hopelessness is the enemy of justice. With courage because peace requires bravery.
With persistence because justice is a constant struggle. With faith because we shall overcome.
Making a “Creation” Tree
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think “creation?” How would you go about doing a little creating of your own to express that idea to others? Well, you’re going to get a chance to try!
The decorations for St. Dunstan’s parish Christmas tree, called “chrismons,” have served us for many years, with many repairs and much refurbishing by loving hands. But they have finally come to the end of their working lives and need to be replaced. Several parishioners–Priscilla Davis, Ginny Harris, Lucy Kaltenbach, Cathy Leake, Gilda Morris, and Michele Smither–have formed a steering committee to organize that effort, and as the parish values all of God’s handiwork, have focused on “Creation” as the theme for new decorations.
You will be hearing more about this idea, and how you can be part of it, as plans develop. For now, start pondering on how you can say what “Creation” means to you, and how you can help others to do the same. —The “Creation” Group
Thanks from Joseph Henry
Thank you to everyone who helped make my voice recital a reality. Thanks first and foremost to Tom, my mentor for many years and the person who began my interest in music and love of singing. Without him there would not have been a recital.
Thank you Claudia for putting together the program. Thank you Suzanne, Elizabeth, and Claudia (again) for the beautiful flower arrangements in the church and in the parish hall. Thank you Shirley for being a top notch page turner and making me “singer’s tea” to help my sore throat, and to you Gwen for taking pictures. And, finally, thank you everyone who helped with the reception and everyone who came and supported me in this endeavor. — Joseph Henry Monti
Supply Drive for El Refugio
El Refugio is a guest house that offers overnight shelter for families who have traveled great distances to visit loved ones at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. Stewart is an ICE Detention Center, filled with immigrants, both documented and undocumented.
We are partnering with St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church to collect gas and food cards for families who travel many miles to get to Lumpkin. Also needed are women’s pants (any size), duffel bags, backpacks, socks, travel games, and greeting cards. There will be a collection box in the narthex.
The Rev. Edith Woodling, a deacon at St. Benedict’s, will pick up our collection on March 1 to take to Lumpkin the following day. She has room for two people to accompany her and others on this trip. If you are interested in visiting a detainee and speak a foreign language (Spanish), please contact Harriett Smith at 317-201-8442.
To learn more about Stewart Detention Center, read Grace Hauser’s reflection in this edition of the Bellows.
You can learn more about El Refugio at their website.
Ministering in Law School
Two of our St. Dunstan’s community who are now in law school are already using their knowledge to do important work and ministry. Grace Hancock (daughter of Billy and Sarah) is a law school senior at Tulane. Grace Hauser (daughter of Steve and Susan) is a first year law student at the University of Virginia. They offer these reflections on their recent experiences.
Stuart Detention Center
Over my winter break from law school, I volunteered with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI). SIFI’s mission is to get immigrants out of detention centers on either bond or parole so that they can pursue the rest of their immigration case at home (immigrants are put into detention centers if they are in the United States illegally and if there is a removal proceeding against them; if they are unsuccessful in their case, they are usually deported from the United States). SIFI’s main offices are located near five detention centers; three in Southern Georgia and two in Louisiana.
The detention center at which I volunteered, the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, is the largest such facility in the United States. Stewart Detention Center was built as a medium-security prison in 2004 and is run by a private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (whose stock, incidentally, rose over 140% when Trump was elected [see Heather Long, Private prison stocks up 100% since Trump’s Win, CNN, Feb. 24, 2017]).
The detention center houses nearly 1,900 detainees who, put simply, are treated like prisoners. The men detained at Stewart wear orange jumpsuits; they can only meet with their attorneys in one of three small rooms, speaking through a crackling telephone line behind thick plexiglass; they can only visit with their family in an open space with no privacy. And the detainees’ attorneys and family can only visit after they have waited for several hours for a guard to retrieve the detainee, after they have been screened through a metal detector, had their shoes, belt, and coat sent through an x-ray machine, and after they have handed over their drivers’ licenses to the guards.
The men at Stewart, however, are not criminals. Among those I met with and screened as potential SIFI clients, over half had credible asylum claims (traveling to the United States and declaring asylum is, by the way, a legal means of immigration); several had legally come to the United States but had overstayed their visas; and many more had lived in the United States for 20+ years—they had no family, friends, or other contacts in their “home” countries.
Witnessing the way our country treats immigrants was a heartbreaking experience. Before I volunteered with SIFI, I had some experience working with asylum clients and I had read newspaper articles on what was happening with immigrants at our border. Nothing, however, prepared me for the experience of walking past two locked wire fences, under spiraling, razor-sharp concertina wire, and into a prison to speak with the frightened immigrants who came to the United States seeking safety.
For more information on the SIFI project, please visit their website.
If you are interested in volunteering, SIFI can use help on the ground and can often use remote volunteers (Spanish speakers are especially needed!). – Grace Hauser
Release for the Captives
For my final year of Law School, I am participating in Tulane’s Criminal Justice Clinic as a student attorney. We represent indigent clients at all different stages of their cases. All three of my clients were originally convicted to life in prison. One of them was a woman named Helen. Helen went to prison at 17. At 17, Helen was living on her own with two children, and she was pregnant with a third. Helen never learned proper coping strategies and parenting techniques from school or her family, and she unfortunately had a moment of weakness. She was trying to make her youngest child, a physically handicapped toddler, quiet down, and she fatally injured him. Helen stayed by his side while he was on life support for the next four days until he finally passed away. Helen was convicted of second degree murder and sent to prison for the rest of her life.
Flash forward nearly 40 years, and the laws in the country have changed. Judges can no longer sentence juveniles to life without parole, and subsequent cases allowed this rule to apply retroactively. This means that anyone convicted to life without parole as a juvenile is now potentially eligible for parole. The Tulane Clinic accepted Helen as our client to work with her through this parole process. Students before me had done some of the legwork in Helen’s case, researching and interviewing and compiling information to present to the parole board. I continued this process with my partner throughout the fall of 2018, in preparation for her hearing on November 16, 2018.
I met with Helen many times, and I met her family and her daughter up in Northern Louisiana. Helen is an incredibly loving and caring woman. She finds comfort in cooking, waking up at 3 am to start cooking for all the other prisoners. The guards enjoy her food, too, and frequently ask for recipes. Helen struggled academically as a child, and at prison, she put in a lot of effort to obtain her GED, and though she showed consistent improvement, she was not able to reach the required levels of academic achievement.
Through continued hardship, Helen has stood resolute. She brings joy and compassion to the people around her. She works hard to be a good mother to her daughter and a grandmother to many more, even while in the confines of prison.
The culmination of my representation of Helen was the parole hearing. We practiced and practiced answering questions before the hearing, but we were still nervous when we sat down in front of the board. They seemed to have A few notes about what is happening in our music program: made up their mind before we entered the room, based on the packet of information about Helen we gave to them. They only asked Helen a few questions, then they were ready to hear from the people speaking on her behalf. The clinic hired a psychiatrist to explain Helen’s mental state as a child, and she spoke at the parole hearing, along with Helen’s daughter, who gave an emboldened plea for her mother’s release.
Then I spoke on Helen’s behalf. I started by telling the parole board that I loved Ms. Beck. I was later admonished for my word choice, but I said that I loved her knowing the reprimand would come. I wanted it to be on the record that someone loved this woman. She is human. She is imperfect. She makes mistakes, but she is very loved. Helen was punished for the very worst minute of her life, and forced to relive and suffer for her mistake for 40 years. In a few short months, she changed my life and became a lifelong friend, and I truly do love her.
Helen is now living in Baton Rouge with the Louisiana Parole Project. She has a job cooking at a restaurant, and she is able to see her daughter frequently. She’s learning all the ways the world changed while she was incarcerated for close to 40 years. Helen’s enjoying the simple things, like grocery shopping and cell phone conversations with loved ones. She will move in with her daughter in a few months, and continue her new life outside of prison. – Grace Hancock
- Congratulations to Lee Morris, who has been unanimously elected vice chair of the Fulton County Commission. Lee represents District 3, which encompasses the southern part of Sandy Springs, all of Buckhead, and parts of Midtown.
- Congratulations to Quinn Changus, Joseph Henry Monti, and Sean Robertson, who have all been selected to participate in the Georgia All State Chorus. They will attend two days of rehearsals and workshops in Athens on February 14-16, culminating in performances on the 16th.
- Congratulations to Joseph Henry Monti, whose self portrait has been selected to be part of a student exhibition at the High Museum of Art. The exhibit runs from February 12- March 17.
Our condolences to Cinda and Geoff Walker on the death of Cinda’s brother, Chris Trueax.
Our congratulations to Justin and Mike Camara on the birth of their daughter, Amelia Ann.
Family Promise Fundraiser
Please consider attending Meals With Meaning, a fundraiser for Family Promise on Thursday, March 21st at Heritage Sandy Springs from 6-9 p.m.
“We invite you to join us for a Southern style dinner with wine, beer, and iced tea. Live music, raffle, and an inspiring testimony for a graduate family.”
Tickets are $50, and may be purchased at Family Promise Events.
A Prayer in the Midst of Winter
In the midst of Winter, when the days are cold and wind can pierce remind us of the warmth of your love.
In the midst of Winter, when days are short, dawn comes late, and dusk arrives early remind us that in the darkness your light still shines.
In the midst of Winter, when the flowers of spring still lie hidden in the earth, when leaves are off the trees, and the world can seem bleak remind us that Easter is but a short time away.
And when in our lives we feel as if we are experiencing a season of winter, reach out to us with the power of your resurrection so that we may feel the warmth of your love and see your light that alone can take away the darkness of our soul. Amen.
Vestry 2018 – 2019
Harriett S. Smith, Sr. Warden; Bruce Lafitte, Jr. Warden; Deborah Dee; Mark O’Connell; Ellen Taratus; Susan Howard; Lori Westphal; Misty Bentz; Jessy Briton Hamilton
The Reverend Patricia Templeton, Rector
The Reverend Maggie Harney, Priest Associate
Dr. Thomas Gibbs, Parish Musician
Claudia Gimson, Parish Administrator
Billy DuBose, Seminarian