A string of riots and protests have dominated national news since days of rioting in Ferguson, Mo., last year, in Baltimore in April and capped on June 17 in Columbia, S.C., by Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white Southerner with a reputation for being an anti-black racist. After he attended a midweek Bible study in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, he gunned down nine unarmed classmates, including the pastor who was also a state senator.
In our home, head-shaking feelings of disbelief and regret for the victims continued through early news reports of this massacre, but were replaced quickly with increasing anger and outrage with the killer and those who spoke publicly trying to explain (defend) his actions.
Waiting for justice to be done can take a lot of time, and racial injustice and hatred has survived more than two centuries in a country still torn apart by strong Southern traditions of second-class citizenship for blacks rather than granting blacks and all citizens equal freedoms and protection under constitutional law.
Anti-Dixie national sentiment has miraculously mushroomed every day since Dylann Roof's atrocity; the flag of Old Dixie is being removed from public display nationally, and huge retailers have stopped selling this relic of the past.
These events may mark the beginning of the end of a culture that reveled in bygone days of plantations, white supremacy, masters and slaves, and legalized injustice. Those of us who don't have this cultural baggage to carry will continue to be tested during what I expect will take generations for Dixie to take its place in history books yet to be written.