So on Saturday, I’m at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice with a couple of other families. My friend’s six-year-old child asks me to read one of the placards to him. It’s about lynching.
There are some big words, and if I read them he starts getting bored, so I choose to paraphrase—very carefully, aware that there is also an audience of adults listening in to a white man talking to a black child about lynching. I’m trying to summarize without sanitizing. I explain that black men and women were being executed by white crowds for made-up reasons. He asks,
“You mean like Jesus?”
Through tears, I said, yes, like Jesus. It was like James Cone was standing over there, nodding.