On this Juneteenth, 2023, we at G-Square Publishing wish to share with you all an experience that, unfortunately, has become a part of the Green family tales to share. We do not share this as an event to applaud. We share it as an event to shake our heads and again ask the question, when does it end?
My mother and father can claim roots in southern states in this great nation. Their families both migrated north from those states to Harlem, New York, to be exact.
In the early forming of his family, Dad thought it best to move to a neighborhood where he could hope for the best opportunities for his spouse and offspring.
In making this choice, he decided to pack up his family wealth, as it was, and head to the majestic borough of Brooklyn, New York. He moved the family to a new housing development called “Bayview” in an up-and-coming community called Canarsie.
I was not even thought of at the time. My two eldest siblings, whom I miss dearly, were two of the first youthful eyes of color to step onto the Bayview proving grounds.
It was predominately a joining of families with little understanding of families of color and how they lived and moved about. Our life in “The View” required a significant adjustment for a family having just happily lived life in the historical grounds of Harlem, New York.
Once moving in, the needed lifestyle adjustments were made. My siblings seemed to grow into the neighborhood with ease.
To be clear, me saying that could actually be just me rewriting history. As the youngest of four, the source of much of my sharing comes forth from youthful tales being told.
My oldest brother turned out to be quite the athlete. Now this is a fact that I can attest to. Not a tale being told by young boys and girls.
Growing up, I personally witnessed much of his athletic skills. He played basketball, football, and on occasion, even handball, with skills matched by few.
On one particular day, he and his young friends had gone to what was called “The Big Park” to join in a spirited game of basketball. The ground rules in these games were when your game was complete, win or lose, you had to give up the court to the waiting team.
When it became the turn of my brother and his young friends, a group of young white boys refused to vacate the court and allow for an orderly transition of control of the court.
A scuffle ensued, and one of the older white boys picked up my brother and actually hung him from the park fence and left him dangling in place.
Hanging a black boy in any shape or form was an unwise move in the racially turbulent times of the nineteen-sixties. Hell, for me, it would be foolish at any time. There simply was nothing funny about it.
The young man added to the insult by challenging my brother to go home and bring his father back, and he too, would be hung unceremoniously from the same fence. Without hesitation and without a doubt, no repent.
A challenge that did not end well in questioning my family's honor or the manhood of my proud father. I discuss this incident further in a G-Square publication entitled “The Rifle'.
Once freeing himself from his makeshift gallows, my brother rushed home to share the experience with Dad, who happened to have just completed a game of stickball with a group of friends from Harlem against a team of neighborhood Caucasian men.
Upon hearing of the incident and the challenge to his manhood, Dad and his united pack felt the need to respond as a team. The anger and rage that Dad felt on that day; I have tried on several occasions to fold into words giving justice to explaining the hurt in Dad’s heart. I have yet to find those words to explain it all in a meaningful and just way.
With little discussion amongst him and his crew, Dad took up arms and went in search of those who dared to hang his son and leave him dangling from some park fence. His firstborn. A most infuriating act.
The gauntlet had been thrown, and Dad had no intention of leaving it on the ground. He and his band chose defensive arms and began the trek in defense of honor and dignity.
Once reaching his destination, the offenders were nowhere to be found. He extended his search to the neighborhood hot spot.
Upon arrival, my brother identified the individual who dared to hang him from the fence and brazenly challenge my brother to fetch his father and take on his motley crew of misdirected miscreants.
After Dad physically explained to the offenders the abysmal error of their disrespectful ways, he and his comrades marched back to our humble abode. Honor intact, having successfully defended against those who would besmirch the family name.
Upon returning home, Mom took the time to educate my siblings on the despicably heinous death of young Emmit Till. A heart-wrenching tale that had taken place just a few short years before my brother’s disrespectful act ending in Emmit’s death by him being beaten and hung by a mob of white cowards.
For my young family, the park incident was the beginning of a lifelong series of diabolical acts sending a message over and over again that, in the eyes of some, being persons of color was not acceptable to them.
I matured with many friends in my life in my predominantly white neighborhood. These were memorable friends, both white and black, who walked hand in hand with me as we stared down race riots and other radical racist acts while we stood down repeated chants of “Get Back, know your place” over and over again.
As life has progressed, the list of racial disrespect has sadly grown and lived on. I and my comrades have always stood fast, challenging screams from the mouths of the hate-spreading cast, preaching a belief that my family and friends could not hold an honorable place within the Bayview Proving Grounds.
We repeatedly stood tall, calling that if we unite, bringing this belief to an end could become a reality for all, a clarion call to be bellowed from the kingdom’s walls.
Though there have been repeated pleas working hard to bring racism to its knees, these fiendish acts have continued to grow, with tares taking root in an effort to stifle the truth.
Sadly, racism has continued to grow from the singular name of my dear brother, that being Terrance Robert Green, on that horrible day in the early ‘60s.
Unfortunately, racism and disrespect targeting our fellow man have taken abundant root in the fertile ground, seemingly unchecked, as demonstrated by the repeated deaths of my brothers and sisters of color in these United States with the dishonoring of the names of such men and women of honor as; Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Delrawn Small, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Ezell Ford, Michelle Cusseaux, Walter Scott, Bettie Jones, Breonna Taylor, Dominique Clayton, George Floyd, and most recent, Ralph Yarl, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
As I speak these words, as a nobleman of color, I have but one question, and I sing this question from the rooftops and shout it within the reverberating walls of unchecked hate throughout the world.
When does it all end? Once again, when does it all end?
SHARED IN TRUTH AND IN DEFIANCE OF HATE ON THIS JUNETEENTH 2023