It was just a few weeks ago that Myrlie Evers saw for the first time the high-powered, .30-06 Enfield rifle that her husband’s assassin had used, now exhibited at the Mississippi Department of Archives.
“I walked in there and there was that rifle, encased in the plexiglass, and I stopped cold,” she recalled. “All kinds of emotion ran through me. One was hate. That was the weapon that took my husband from me and my children’s father from them. …
“Then I focused on the trigger. It was evil, in my eye, at that moment. Something made my eye follow the rifle to the end, where the fire came out that took Medgar’s life. And I could see his body sprawled there with this massive hole in his back, and I felt the heat in my chest that represented the strong emotions that I had. But something happened and it changed my vision of that rifle.
“It took his life and that fire that came out of the barrel represented freedom — freedom for Medgar in that he did not have to struggle anymore. He did what he had to do, and his death moved this country forward.”” —50 years later, Medgar Evers’ widow describes finally seeing the rifle that took his life
I’ve been experimenting some with how to visualize the data I’ve collected for the dissertation—lynching statistics and memorials, eugenics programs and reparations, and the like. Data visualization probably is something ethicists are not supposed to dabble in, but here we are.
If anybody has thoughts about mapping tools with simple interfaces, please let me know. I’ve tried OpenHeatMap some and it is useful, though it exposes my ignorance of code. What I’ve posted above—if the embed is not working properly, you can follow the link here—traces the civil rights cold cases being re-investigated under the 2007 Till Act. The basic numbers come from the November 2012 Attorney General’s report to Congress.
You might notice from the map that one state, Mississippi, is quite a bit darker than the rest. I had to drop the top end of the scale down so that Georgia and Alabama still showed up as significant on the map. Mississippi has 50 cases under investigation, approximately 2.5x that of Georgia, the next highest on the list at 19. Alabama has 17. Impossibly, Oklahoma has zero, and Texas only 4.
There are a lot of questions that arise from just this basic information. Is Mississippi especially courageous in facing its past? Especially awful in its past violence? Or do they just have an especially engaged NAACP and FBI field office?
In any case, if you think that the point of the cold case investigations is to deliver closure—even reconciliation—through delayed effort at criminal justice, the unevenness of this map should bother you.
I’ll…let Nina Simone have the last word here.
She’s a source of widespread frustration and anxiety who is demoralizing, uncaring, morale-draining, and very unpopular. He demands excellence and relevance.
She is difficult to work with, unreasonable, impossible, stubborn. He has a strong vision and insists on seeing it carried out.
She is AWOL and disengaged. He attended Sundance and SXSW.
She is not a naturally charismatic person, not approachable, tough as nails. He is direct.
She is brusque, blunt, and dismissive. He does not like to waste time.
She is uncaring, unable to march forward or provide reassurance, and doesn’t make people feel good. He is not your mommy.
She is condescending. He is the boss.
On Friday, amid the public celebration on the Boston Common, many of Hussain’s friends and acquaintances decided that it would be safest to stay indoors. “It’s just sad that when an entire city is mourning, part of that population is not able to participate,” she said. On Facebook, Hussain watched Muslim teens contemplate staying home from school on Monday, fearing harassment. Even Hussain has altered her routine since the bombing, taking a taxi home every night and asking the driver to drop her off directly in front of her apartment, rather than walking home alone.
“I don’t feel comfortable walking through my own city,” she admitted. “I’ve lived on the same four blocks of Boston, right off Boylston Street, for the last four years. And now, all the sudden, I’m afraid to walk them alone.”” —This Is What It’s Like to Be a Muslim in Boston Right Now