Content Warning: This story contains descriptions of anti-Black violence that may be triggering or disturbing to some readers.
Despite the fact that he lived in Jim Crow Mississippi, John Hartfield always controlled his own life. He was leaving his home to head to a new city. He had a new job lined up. And there was something he was definitely NOT about to change.
Hartfield was in love with a white woman, and even though this was a crime they planned to continue their relationship in secret. They would visit one another and remain a committed couple. Yet for all Hartfield’s plans, there was something as old as time happening at the same time.
Hatred. A few local white people found out about Hartfield’s relationship. They decided Hartfield was too “uppity” – so they were going to teach him and his girlfriend a lesson. When he returned to visit her, the men captured him and took him to the local jail – then they did something astonishing.
Hartfield died because his love challenged the myth of white supremacy. We must remember that we are free to act as we choose. White people do not have a right to control anything about us, especially our hearts!