***Trying something new. Was bored on Saturday and I was inspired by this event I went to Friday night. ***
I awakened to the sounds of dogs barking. As I looked around our one room home my father, mother and sister were still asleep. I get up to look out the front window the floorboard creaks and my father wakes up.
“Jeremiah, where are you going? my father asked me.
“I think I heard something outside.” I told him as we walked over to the window. As we looked out we saw a mob of white men with dogs and guns making their way across our farm.
“Mary, Hannah! Wake up!” As my mother and sister scrambled out of bed my father grabbed his shotgun and started to load shells into it. “No matter what happens. Stay in the house.” My mother, sister and I huddled in the corner of the house.
“We have no quarrel with you nigger. Where is your son?” I heard one of the white men ask my father.
“What do you want with my son?”
“That little nigger was eyeing little Michelle Proctor. We’re going to teach him a lesson.”
I tried to remember what these men were talking about. I saw a white girl in town earlier that day when I went to pick up supplies from town but I didn’t look at her. I knew better than that. I couldn’t take it anymore. I walked away from my mother and sister towards the window. “Jeremiah come back here. You heard what your father said.” my mother said in a hushed tone.
“I’m just going to look and see what they’re doing Ma.” As I looked out the window I saw 9 men all armed with guns and 4 basset hounds. They were standing literally a few feet from the bottom of the porch stairs.
“My son is only 12 years old.” my father said trying to reason with the lynch mob.
“You calling me a liar boy?” one of the white men asked my father.
“No sir but I can’t just let you take my son.” my father told them defiantly.
“We’re taking him one way or another. You can let us have him or you can die with him.” said another white man. Two white men stepped up onto the stairs and my father raised his shotgun and pointed it at them.
“I don’t want any trouble. My family and I are just sharecroppers. We don’t bother anybody.”
Before my father could say another word one of the white men still in the front yard raised his pistol and fired it in my fathers direction. My father fell backwards onto the porch. “That will teach that nigger to point a gun at a white man.” Behind me I could hear my mother scream. I ran to the door opened it and ran to my father.
“There’s that little nigger right there!”
I looked down at my father who was laying on his back. I could see a puddle of dark blood seeping out from under him. He had a hole in the middle of his chest. I reached for my father’s gun and as I looked up I saw the butt of a shotgun coming towards my face. Everything went black.
As I came to I was laying on my back in front of our house. The first thing I noticed was our house was on fire and I could hear the screams of my mother and sister coming from inside the house. I started to get up but I was met with a white man who had a shotgun.
“Where do you think you’re going nigger? We’re gonna teach you some manners and not eyeball white girls”
“I didn’t look at her.” I tried to explain fighting back tears.
“Don’t back talk me boy!” he yelled at me.
I could still hear the screams of my mother and sister. “Please mister don’t let my mother and sister die.”
“You should be more worried about yourself” he told me. Another man grabbed me by my legs and dragged me towards a tree. I saw a rope hanging from the tree with a noose at the end of it. As they stood me up and placed the noose around neck the screams from the house stopped. As the noose tightened around my neck I felt tears running down my face. Why did these men hate me? I didn’t do anything to them. I didn’t look at that girl. My parents and sister were dead. As the men tied the other end of the rope to the saddle of a horse I knew the end was coming soon. They smacked the horse and it ran in the other direction. I was hoisted up and I tried to pull at the noose but it dug so tight into my neck. I tried to swallow air but I couldn’t. My chest was on fire. Quickly everything started going black again. I had become strange fruit on Southern trees. A black body swinging in the Southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.