On Jan. 6, the day before what would have been his 27th birthday, the family of Frederick Jermaine Carter buried his body anxiously awaits the results from outside experts.
“We finally laid him to rest and now we’re just waiting on the results from the second examination. Today, my son Frederick would have been 27-years-old so we’ve been sharing good memories of him with one another,” Brenda Carter-Evans told The Final Call in a phone interview on January 7.
To the surprise of many, Mrs. Carter-Evans (pictured below) has been handling the loss of her son with strength and courage. Mr. Carter was found dead, hanging from a tree over a month ago with a noose around his neck off a dirt road in North Greenwood, MS.
The preliminary ruling of suicide by the Leflore County coroner’s office triggered an outcry from the family, Black lawmakers, civil rights groups and residents.
“I thank everyone for their continued support, prayers, letters, cards and even their thoughts,” says Mrs. Carter-Evans, who is a former substitute at East Sunflower Elementary School in Sunflower, MS. “This shows that we as a people still care about one another and this has brought us together. It’s a new beginning,” she said.
“My son never liked making New Year’s resolutions. He would just put his words to action. That is what he would be doing if he was here right now—helping others and working,” said Mrs. Carter-Evans.
Speaking for the family, Atty. Valerie Hicks Powe (pictured below) told The Final Call she was unable to give a date when the results of the second examination would be available.
“We’re still waiting on the results and we continue to thank everyone from the around the country who has helped to bring attention to this case. Hopefully, we will have something to report back soon,” said Atty. Hicks Powe.
Online support continues to grow for the Stop Legalized Lynching Movement that was launched after Mr. Carter’s death.
Abdullah Yasin Muhammad (pictured below), a son of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and genealogist Antoinette Harrell are leading the campaign using social media outlets such as Facebook, YouTube and new media outlets like Blog Talk Radio.
“Please remember Roy Veal and Raynard Johnson who were lynched in Marion and Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Their death was ruled as a suicide. There should be an investigation and we should continue to seek justice,” said Ms. Harrell during a recent segment on her Blog Talk Show “Nuturing Our Roots.”
The body of Mr. Veal, who was Black, was found April 23, 2004 in rural Wilkinson County hanging from a tree. Upon reviewing evidence in the case, it was ruled a suicide by a grand jury, according to news reports.
Mr. Johnson, who was 17, was found hanging from a pecan tree in his own front yard on June 16, 2000 in Kokomo, MS. He reportedly had just ended a relationship with a White female friend, which led to suspicion that he may have killed himself out of depression. It was also ruled a suicide, which was questioned by national civil rights groups who marched that summer in protest.
Organizers of the Stop Legalized Lynching campaign have developed a 7-point platform that includes pressing the Obama administration to pass an anti-Lynching bill in honor of Ida B. Wells. Their goal is to get one million citizens to sign an online petition while spreading the word regarding a march in Greenwood scheduled for August 27.
Mrs. Carter-Evans plans to develop several things in honor her son but for now she says, “I’m staying focused on the task at hand. We will do those types of things but right now we have to stay focused on what is happening with this case so we won’t miss anything. We can’t be distracted,” she said.
(For more information about the Stop Legalized Lynching campaign, visit http://www.onemillionstrong.info/ or call 1-855-No-Lynch)
(This article originally appeared in The Final Call Newspaper, Vol. 30 No. 15 dated January 18, 2010. For more reports related to this story please click below.)
Skeptical Mississippi family, activists see support growing for questions about death (FCN, 01-11-2011)
Family seeks expert second opinion in hanging case (FCN, 12-30-2010)
Hundreds pack church, remember Mississippi hanging victim (FCN, 12-23-2010)
Community refuses to accept suicide (FCN, 12-23-2010)
Blacks doubt death in small Southern town is a suicide (FCN, 12-16-2010)
|All Photos by Ansar Eli|