Absolute Yes To Ed Johnson Statue - And Response

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
At the beginning of the week in the AM, I roll over and put the reading eyes on and go from bottom to top on the Opinion section of Chattanoogan with my cell phone. This morning was a pretty good one. Two Roy pieces got to me again and I was moved to conclude that as ugly as people can be, there are some among us who can be breathtakingly beautiful.  First, there are hundreds of white redneck men with their bass boats in Houston saving thousands for nothing more than a sweaty thank you and, second, there is the wisdom of Eric Atkins.
I hope that one day I can be that good. 

I don't know what to do about Houston but I sure can applaud those guys and that's about all I can do. They are true heroes. I hope they are appreciated by the entire planet. That's what they deserve. 

On Ed Johnson, I have chosen over the years to not know all I should know. I knew it happened but I shut it out because the story is just too appalling. It's more grisly than Faulkner or "Places in the Heart" ever thought about being and, unless I am blurring stories, I think there was more un-anesthetized horror before he was hanged than a mere body full of bullets after the fact. Dear God, it brings way too much guilt for this white boy and that's a problem. My problem. See, if you don't think about something long enough, it'll quietly go away. Right? Sometimes that's actually the case.

So thanks, Roy and all who are involved, for making me process Ed Johnson. His story is vital to every man, woman and child and I believe Eric Atkins is an uncommonly wise man. As a history buff, Mr. Atkins is far wiser than I would ever be if I were in his shoes. 

That having been said and with absolute zero credibility, I opine thissly:  

The Ed Johnson story should never happen again but it could and that's why I scream Yes to a statue that all Hamilton Countians will see as they get their tag or title. Everyone should know what this humble martyr said before he was cut to pieces on our very own Market Street Bridge. I say put a plaque there and build a statue at the courthouse. 

That's right. Build, learn and stop tearing down (unless it's Jefferson Davis or Andrew Jackson - from what I've read one was an unapologetic racist to his death and the other was an ethnic cleansing mass murderer). The main thing to me is to try and be like Eric Atkins and learn how to step forward. Build the statue. What a fantastic opportunity, albeit too little and way too late, to show the world that we can be like the Cajun Navy and thanklessly do what is good in these polar times. 

Again, I ain't got no cred but I think If we build it, everybody will learn and nobody will forget.
 
Savage Glascock Jr. 

* * * 

Unfortunately, there were several Ed Johnsons before and have been several more since, well into 21st century America. The only things missing today are the lynching ropes and mobs. The 1906 lynching of Ed Johnson had become so commonplace that it became practically the norm for the people of that era. In many ways those same attitudes and triggers remain even to this day. 

People living in the moment are often incapable of recognizing such tragedies for what they are or the lasting sufferings they inspire for everyone whether they're directly connected to the tragedy or not. So history repeats itself again and again and the same bridges continue to be crossed over and over because everyone, even the targeted victims, often lull themselves into believing it can't happen again. But in some different form or variation of the same it continues.

The only key to at least attempting a guarantee another Ed Johnson will not happen again is to confront the triggers, attitudes, lies that inspired such a horrific tragedy to happen in the first place when they first begin to show their ugly, deceitful heads. Those triggers often start out small and take many shapes and forms. 

I have a vague childhood memory of what Ed Johnson may have looked like from listening to the elders who lived during that time quietly whispering about him as if the walls were still listening and, out of fear, to speak loudly may trigger another such senseless tragic killing.  It would be a great gesture and honor to have an image of a young man, even if only a composite one of what Ed Johnson may have looked like, to go along with a plague of written words. Overtime, people won't connect words only with an actual image.  

Brenda Washington


Vote For Joda For State Representative District 30

Why Allow New Apartments In An Overcrowded School Zone?

Roy Exum: Who Do You Trust?


As a lifelong educator, I have been privileged to meet many talented graduates who have taken their place in leadership of our community. These former Mocs have received strong educational experiences ... (click for more)

I have to ask why the city of Chattanooga chose to put a 60/40 HUD backed apartment complex on Highway 58 across from Lynda’s Produce in a three school zone that is already overloaded. The ... (click for more)

About this time last month a 25-year-old kid with a fresh degree in “public policy” left me a phone call hoping to get my views. Joda Thongnopnua is the Democratic candidate for the State House ... (click for more)


Opinion

Vote For Joda For State Representative District 30

As a lifelong educator, I have been privileged to meet many talented graduates who have taken their place in leadership of our community. These former Mocs have received strong educational experiences and are now in careers that will lead in business, education, and many other fields for the betterment of Hamilton County and the state of Tennessee. One of those talented people is ... (click for more)

Why Allow New Apartments In An Overcrowded School Zone?

I have to ask why the city of Chattanooga chose to put a 60/40 HUD backed apartment complex on Highway 58 across from Lynda’s Produce in a three school zone that is already overloaded. The three schools, Central, Brown and Harrison Elementary, are all overloaded and on a morning run all the lanes of 58 are packed with traffic. Now I can only guess what that might add to the mix. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

HCSO Corrections Corporal Arrested

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office personnel on Tuesday afternoon arrested HCSO Corrections Corporal Kaquience Williams on the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Corporal Williams was arrested after she was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop. She is presently in the booking process at the Hamilton County Jail and has been placed on ... (click for more)

Downtown Post Office Finally Getting Handicap Ramp

Chattanooga's Downtown Post Office, after some lawsuits and numerous complaints over the years, is finally getting a handicap ramp. Federal Judge Sandy Mattice said the complaints had increased in recent months and the General Services Administration agreed to fund the project at the historic building on Georgia Avenue. The judge said, "It's a beautiful building, but it's ... (click for more)

Sports

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Opens Ticket Deposits

Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club opened ticket deposits on Monday for its inaugural 2019 season of professional play in USL League One. Deposits ensure soccer fans get to pick their preferred seats early for group, season and individual tickets. By placing a deposit, fans will also have access to priority seating for the new soccer-specific stadium being built for the 2020 season. ... (click for more)

Baylor, GPS, CCS Advance To State Soccer Semifinals

Baylor traveled to Briarcrest in Memphis on Saturday to compete for a Division II-AA final four spot. After play to a 0-0 tie in the first half, Baylor would find itself down 1-0 in the 63rd minute when Anna Strong scored off a corner kick. That lead did not last long as Ara Rhodes scored the game tying goal one minute later off an Avery David corner kick. Two minutes later, ... (click for more)