Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | April 4, 2012

Who is William Joseph Baxley II?

I wanted to post this last week, but I, like most of America, was focused on the Trayvon Martin shooting. In case you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of weeks, that’s the 17-year-old black boy who was shot by a neighborhood watch “captain” because he fit the stereotypical profile of a criminal. And to top things off, the top GOP Presidential candidates were silent on the matter for days. All they seemed to want to talk about talk about was the Etch-A-Sketch toy! It angered me so much, I wrote an article for Technorati, titled “Difficult Choices for the GOP: Trayvon Martin or Etch-A-Sketch”. From this story, I was quoted in an article from The Week Magazine, titled “Why are Mitt Romney and his GOP rivals dodging Trayvon Martin?”

Next, I wrote an article for The Huffington Post, titled “Trayvon Martin: Not a Symbol for Vigilante Justice”This piece evolved from my anger with the so-called New Black Panther Party and their “reward” for the arrest of the shooter of Trayvon Martin. The day this article was published, I was interviewed on The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner, a national radio program.It’s been a busy two weeks.

Trayvon Martin was racial profiled, an insulting fact of life just about every African-American has experienced. He lost his young life for someone else’s fear and distrust. Of course, it was no surprise many in the black community were angry about this fear of the black male so many people still have. But what was so inspiring–if I can use such a word during a time like this–is that black people weren’t the only folks enraged. Others were, too. And for a time, racial profiling was in the news again. That and Florida’s “shoot first” law. It was a conversation in which everyone could participate. Often it was a painful discussion, but one we needed to seriously have. People of difference races, cultures, and political affiliations got involved.

Of course, the detractors and bigots also made their voices heard. They even complained that President Obama commented on it. Of course. For them, the coverage was just too much. I wonder…if it were a blonde and blue-eyed boy, would they have felt the same?

But regardless of this sizable and loud minority, the rest of the country participated in a conversation long overdue.

I read this amazing letter from Michael Skolnik, Editor-In-Chief of, titled “White People, You Will Never Look Suspicious!” This was a very good piece about his understanding of what a different life he has, even if he dresses in a notorious hoodie. It shows what true dialogue can unearth. But it also demonstrates someone of one color can can feel the pain of those of another.

And here is the tie-in to my originally planned post…the story of  former Alabama Attorney General William Joseph Baxley II.

Like Michael Skolnik, he wasn’t a black man. He was also white. But he has a very special place in the history of the civil rights movement. He saw an injustice while in law school and vowed to do something to make it right, no matter what peril he would have to face. William Joseph Baxley II was the posecutor who vowed to put away those responsible for the infamous bombing of the 16 Street Baptist Church.

One man. One decision. One great legacy. It’ reminds us how connected we all are in this country, even if we forget from time to time. It also reminds us how remaining silent and blind to injustice is not the answer.

I’ve included two YouTube videos of his story. The first video is of the shocking crime and how it affected him. The second discuss es his role.

One man. One decision. One great legacy. Her refused to offer his agreement by being silent. Let’s not for him.

Here is the shocking crime and how it affected William Joseph Baxley II:


And this is what he did:



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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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