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Conflict & Tragedy

Dick Gregory on Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman and parallels with Atlanta’s missing and murdered children

Mounting evidence has begun to disprove the assertions of George Zimmerman in his version of what happened when he fired a hand gun into the chest of Trayvon Martin. The shot mortally wounded Martin and speculation abounds over the reason why Zimmerman would shoot an unarmed black teenager.

Comedian and humanist Dick Gregory told Allvoices in an exclusive interview in Sanford, Florida, last week that he believes George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin as an act to gain “admittance into some paramilitary or semi-police fraternal order.”

When asked about his comment Mr. Gregory said, “It’s nothing new. They have been killing black boys for a long time.”

Gregory has been a longtime supporter of the theory advanced by James Baldwin in Baldwin’s 1985 essay, “The evidence of things not seen,” that some racist- based group was behind the Atlanta missing and murdered children crisis that occurred in the late 1970s and into the early 1980s. Atlanta authorities arrested and convicted Wayne Williams, a black music promoter and independent journalist, for two of the adults who had been murdered and they closed the book on 23 of 28 other murders with the belief that Wayne Williams had acted alone in those cases as well.

Baldwin contended that as late as the summer of 1981 the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was investigating a Klansman named George Sanders. An informant had told police Sanders stated the killer had “…wiped out a thousand future generations of Niggers.” (See AP, August 5, 2005).

The informant later testified in court that Sanders told him, “The KKK was creating an uprising among the blacks; that they were killing the children, and that they are going to do one each month until things blow up.”

Things were about to blow up when a day care center which catered to black children literally exploded. Atlanta’s black community, frustrated with no end to the disappearance and murder of its children in sight became angry. The city’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, reported that the day care center’s boiler had explored. He asked the city to remain calm, offered a million dollar reward for information leading to the capture of the person or persons responsible for the missing and murdered children and within weeks Wayne Williams had been targeted for arrest. To this day no one has come forward to claim the million-dollar reward.

The informant testified that Sanders had “threatened to strangle one of the children, Lubie Geter, because Geter ran into Sanders’ car with a go-cart. Geter was later strangled and Williams was blamed for his death, though never charged. (See the Houston Chronicle, October 9, 1991)

Gregory believes the Klan was killing black boys in Atlanta 30 years ago and that Trayvon Martin’s death may be connected to a ritual or initiation into a paramilitary outfit for George Zimmerman.

Dick Gregory, who has been on a fast since the execution of Troy Davis by the State of Georgia on September 20, 2011, said the Martin shooting would have been swept under the rug if not for what he calls “the black press,” that is, African American journalists employed by mainstream media. The shooting death had occurred three weeks before the story gained traction in the national media.

“This is a wake up call to the nation, what happened here is no different than what happen to Emmitt Till or Troy Davis. It’s time to put an end to the murder of our children and the key(s) to that are the black woman and the black church. It is time for the black woman to stand up and say enough is enough, and time for the black church to reclaim the moral authority it once had,” Gregory said.

We are perhaps days away from a decision from the Special Prosecutor on whether she will file charges against George Zimmerman, but as in the Atlanta Child Murders two decades ago, the black community is in an uproar, with one group, the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, calling for vigilante action. They have posted a “wanted dead or alive” poster and issued a $10,000 reward for the apprehension of George Zimmerman. All of which has taken the nation’s mind off a dismal Republican presidential primary in its desultory quest to select a candidate capable of beating the nation’s first black President in November.