Letter: It is as time for healing

Published 11:32 am Saturday, January 7, 2017

Melanie Ruberti’s December 31 article, “A Time to Heal,” is a thorough statement of a serious matter deserving full attention. It highlights the reality that the 1940 lynching of Austin Callaway, a young African American in Troup County, continues to fester in the memories of a number of citizens, and in many more of their family members. Consequently, the community has not been able to heal deep wounds that in various ways still contribute to racial distrust and divisiveness among us. During the last year and a half, thanks in large part to Public Safety and Police Chief Louis Dekmar who spoke of it on several occasions, awareness of that lynching has been made known to many who had little or no prior awareness of it. Participants in The Racial Trust Building and Reconciliation initiatives, begun in mid-2015 by former Troup County Commission Chair Ricky Wolfe, retired legislator Rev. Carl Von Epps, LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton and others, have also helped raise awareness about the lynching among people all across the community. We should not avoid it longer by pronouncing that the past is behind us, that great strides have been made, and “we need to move on.” This tragedy — how it happened and what it represented — remains present until thoroughly acknowledged, understood, forgiven and repented. The public acknowledgment event planned for January 26 can go far toward improving relationships and addressing vital interracial issues among us.

George Henry, MD