In a couple of days, I am making the annual trip to Birmingham, Alabama. Perhaps the most violent crimes against our fellow citizens during the Civil Rights struggle during the 60's took place there. The church bombing that killed four young girls, blasting school children with fire hoses and releasing German shepherds on them -- yes, that Birmingham. I grew up in Boston, where the crimes against African Americans may not have been as overtly violent but were just as inhumane. Is 40 years enough to grieve? Not really but we must move forward, never forgetting to look back while we do.
In the photograph is Willie Lee, a former outfielder for the Kansas City Monarchs and the Birmingham Black Barons. He told me that while he played in the minor leagues of Minnesota, he prayed that he wouldn't wind up in Boston. He didn't, Pumpsie Green did.