“I don’t trust you.”
That statement means death to a relationship — any kind of relationship.
And, unfortunately, there are a lot of dead relationships now…
…which is why trust building is so important if we are going to repair the deep divisions in our country.
And the efforts are not coming from the top down. So it is up to us to start from the ground up.
The concept began in Richmond, Va., over two decades ago and has spread nationwide. Not only is it about bridging the divide between races but between cultures and socio-economic classes.
And never forget the divide within ethnic groups’ perceptions about race.
My neighboring county — Troup — has had incredible success with the program and hundreds of citizens have gone through the training. Recognition and acknowledgement of Austin Callaway’s lynching in 1940 grew out of the effort.
And now citizens in my home county, Harris, are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.
Our first project is to get as much support as possible from individuals, the business community, educational institutions, and elected officials.
And we need all we can get. If you read this and want to know more, comment on this post and leave your contact info or email me.
Our next project is a tribute to a Harris County lynching victim, Mr. Henry (Peg) Gilbert, who was kidnapped from his southern Troup County farm, near the Harris County line, and murdered:
It all began in the early evening of May 4, 1947, in the Jones Crossroads community.
An African-America man named Gus Davidson ran over Olin Sands’ calf and left the scene. Sands was white.
He gave chase and found Davidson at an African-American church near the Harris/Troup County line.
There was an altercation — Davidson shot and killed Sands.
What followed was a night of terror for the African-American community as an angry mob of local men looked for Davidson.
And one innocent man and his family were caught up in the frenzy in a way that changed their lives forever.
Mr. Henry (Peg) Gilbert – a very successful farmer and landowner in the community – was wrongfully accused of hiding the fugitive. He was kidnapped from his home, taken to the Harris County jail, beaten, and murdered.
In other words, he was lynched.
The Harris County Chief of Police William H. Buchanan initially claimed it was self-defense. He later recanted that statement and said a group of white men took him from the jail and killed him.
Of course, there was no conviction. There was no justice.
We know we cannot change these events.
But we can recognize the crime and honor the victim and his family. We can acknowledge the travesty and vow to eradicate the seeds of hate and racial discrimination.
ONE Harris County’s first countywide project is to have a commemoration service next spring (May 2018) and dedicate an Equal Justice Initiative marker in Mr. Gilbert’s memory.
We also want to raise enough money to purchase gravestone markers for Mr. Gilbert and his wife, Mae Henry. They are buried in the church cemetery where the events unfolded.
Of the four Gilbert daughters, — Recie Gilbert Moss — is still living. She is in her 90’s:
“After going through so much years ago, with so much hate, now to see people show love and actually care is warming my heart. I didn’t think I would ever see the day when my father’s name would be cleared and he would be honored.” Recie Gilbert Moss.
Trust doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work.
But together, we can do what needs to be done – what should be done.
Join us. Please.