Tom Manning - Mississippi & South Africa  
  Mississippi, South Africa & Tom Manning

Comments by Tom Manning, US Political Prisoner in Leavenworth KS, January 11th, 2005

Sitting here reading an OP-ED piece in Monday’s (January 10th) Times by Paul Hendrickson, about the new case brought against one of the mob lynchers of the three (3) civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi on June 21, 1964.  Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney.  Any number of thoughts or memories come to mind.

I have an art magazine with a painting of these three young men at the time and scene of their murder, painted by Norman Rockwell.  And each time I look at this painting I think of young men in Vietnam, Black and white dying together.  On the same small planet.

Someone in the lynch mob asked 24 yr. old Mickey Schwerener; “Are you that nigger-lover?”  Reading this I recall on of the more contentious days with the U.S. Marshals during the Brooklyn conspiracy trial.  There were only two (2) Black marshals in that office.  One (1) an older man who stayed in the corridors of the jail processing prisoners in and out, for and from court, and a younger man who was part of the otherwise all white crew who brought us to and fro each day.  On this one day, when returning to the garage area of the prison (MCC/NY), chained and shackled to the Nth degree, Ray and I were snatched from the van and my feet never touched the ground, as we were rushed the twelve (12) or so feet to a wall, where we were pinned, face to the wall, pressed from behind, my feet still not touching the ground, several white marshals holding each of us.  My face was looking to my right where the young Black marshal was standing alone by the closed elevator door.  I asked him, with a bit of defiant humor, “would you press the up button, Please?”  And one of the marshals holding me jammed me harder into the wall and yelled; “Shut-up!  Nigger-lover!”  I looked again at the lone Black marshal and asked; “you work with these guys?”  He never answered but in the still moment before the elevator opened and the rush of activity re-started, he looked as though he were searching himself for his lost soul.  (I’d thought of this marshal no long ago, also, when I’d heard there were Black men amongst the lynchers of Emmett Till.)

And I also thought of something Ray said in his recent Portland Phoenix interview.  That Richard, Jaan and myself were the last three (3) people on Earth imprisoned for fighting against apartheid in South Africa.

……….. the Struggle Continues!    Tom

 Thomas W. Manning 
 P.O. Box 1000 
Leavenworth, KS  66048


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