My mother’s oldest brother was murdered, really lynched by pistol, 20 years before I was born. She was 12, and he was an 18-year-old student studying Religion at Morehouse. Leaving Sunday School on June 15, 1930, Dennis Hubert happened upon seven irate white young men, who falsely claimed he had insulted two white females. They beat him and then shot him in his head, taking his young and promising life. His father, Rev. Gaddus J. Hubert and the community of Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood demanded justice to such an extent that Klan members felt obligated to burn several houses, including my grandfather’s, in retaliation for “the niggras getting out of their place”. Yet, just three weeks later, for the very first time in Georgia history, whites were convicted in the courts for killing a Black person.
That’s the briefest depiction of that horrid history, which didn’t stop there by any means. I never met my uncle, but what happened to him when Mother was so young assaulted and transformed her psyche. As a grown woman and mother of three girls and a boy, she seldom spoke of Dennis with words. Her actions, attitudes, fears, and silences evidenced that he and his lynching were a constant companion. She was a career educator, in love with the humanities, and always absorbed with the topic ‘Man’s Inhumanity to Man’. I could feel her tension during my militant and rebellious teenage years. I thought that was just how mothers behaved. It was not until maturity settled upon me and I became my mother’s caretaker, that I realized, for her, Dennis Hubert was alive in me. She just couldn’t bear to lose him again. It was that realization which resurrected Dennis for me, and in me his spirit is at peace.
May Trayvon find life and peace in generations to come as well.
Plemon Tauheed El-Amin