Heroism, Martyrdom and Suicide: Thoughts on Self-Immolation



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Heroism, Martyrdom and Suicide...

I am in full agreement with Drew McIntyre's words; "I would suggest we honor Rev. Moore's memory by remembering how he lived, and for what he lived." Thus, I cannot understand those who appear to dismiss the significance of "for what he lived", because of how he died. Sid Hall and I in our article, I thought, conveyed our belief in the important significance of the causes for which he lived.

I bring to the life and death of Rev. Charles Moore, a personal particular. I, as an African American
am a member of a racial group, whose justice concerns were deeply embedded in the heart and soul of Charles Moore. I have paid close attention to and expressed deep appreciation for white persons who have boldly and often with negative consequences, been advocates and allies of the justice journeys of those of us of African descent. I was in Mississippi when 2 white and Jewish, Civil Rights volunteers were killed along with their black colleague. I knew Rev. James Reeb the white Unitarian Minister from Boston with whom I flew south to participate in the Tuesday, following "Bloody Sunday", in Selma. Jim Reeb was beaten that night and later died, and I participated in his Memorial Service in Boston. The death of Viola Liuzzo who was killed because she was active in the CR Movement, touched me deeply.

Could it be that those of us who are members of the groups whose struggles against injustice were embraced by Rev. Charles Moore, have a deeper understanding of why he lived, and the frustrations that led him to take his life, than do other persons? There is an unfortunate and despicable term that
has been/is used at times to describe white persons who are open in their advocacy of the black justice struggle. It is "n..... lovers". When one is an 80 year old southern born and bred African American man, as I am, the music of legally sanctioned racism may have ended, but I too often
hear a "melody that lingers on". I do not suggest that any of the respondents to the death of
Rev. Charles Moore give any hint of that melody. But often as I read some of the writings of
my United Methodist colleagues at times, I believe that I and those like me are for them like writer Ralph Ellison's, "INVISIBLE MAN". We still live and remember, but our living and remembering too often seems to be of no meaning, to those whose words and actions on matters of race, seem not to
acknowledge slavery, racial segregation, lynchings and today's often subtle, "soft racism". .

Gil Caldwell more than 7 years ago