the specter of racism

the times they are a changinIn 1963, William Zantzinger caused the death of Hattie Carroll. He spent six months in jail, perhaps not an overly harsh term for such a crime. However, Bob Dylan made sure the world knew of this foul, fat little man by writing the beautiful song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.”

Zantzinger died on January 3, 2009. The reports of this death are not greatly exaggerated. This post is not a mourning of the man, nor is this a celebration of his death. However, it is somewhat comforting to note that a man who once remarked about segregation, “Hell, you wouldn’t want to go to school with Negroes any more than you would with French people,” was alive to see the first African American elected President of this country. It’s a shame Mr. Obama didn’t have any French relatives.

I suggest you to have a listen to Bob’s song, and if you know the song already, do like me and listen once more. I always come away a little bit sadder; Zantzinger’s tale is one of life’s many little atrocities. Bob was good enough to make us listen and to make us care for a woman who didn’t have enough care for her while she was alive.

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