Micheal Griffith, Cedric Sandiford, and Timothy Grimes were traveling from Brooklyn when their car unexpectedly broke down in Howard Beach, an all-white neighborhood in Queens. What should’ve been a regular day in NYC in 1986 quickly turned sinister.
Griffith and his friends walked into a local restaurant and asked to use the phone to call for roadside assistance, but the staff refused. As they sat trying to figure things out, a group of white boys approached them. That’s when the anti-Blackness boiled over.
The antagonists talked smack about killing “niggers” before leaving to attend a party. But then, they returned with baseball bats and tree limbs and attacked Griffith, Sanford, and Grimes.
The teens were tirelessly trying to outrun their attackers when Micheal Griffith ran into traffic on a packed parkway, was struck by a car, and left to die. News of the modern-day lynch mob spread. The Black community showed up to demand justice.
As the system would have it, they tried to charge the attackers only with reckless endangerment, but the community fought back, bringing murder charges instead. We must always show up for each other. There is power in our collective resistance, and using it is key to our liberation.