December 21, 2013

On this day December 21st...

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On this day

On December 21, 1986 Michael Griffith was struck and killed by an automobile on the Belt Parkway while escaping from a mob of white extremists who were beating him, in Howard Beach (Queens), NY.

Many years after her son was brutally murdered in Howard Beach, Jean Griffith Sandiford the mother of Michael said, “You don’t ever really get over having your son killed violently like that…. “After my son Michael was killed so senselessly, I felt such deep pain that I wasn’t sure I could handle it, The despair of losing a son that way is so deep, so overwhelming, that it can destroy you if you’re not strong.”

Howard Beach. These words still strike notes of horror and shame in residents of New York who remember the incident that rocked the city and shocked communities across America 27 years ago. When racial tensions flared in this quiet area of Queens into a deadly conflagration that claimed one life and painfully altered many others, it must have seemed as though the bitterness associated with this name would never die.

Today Howard Beach struggles to heal from the scars inflicted by the hate crimes perpetrated against three black men on December 19, 1986. When they stopped in a white neighborhood because their car had broken down, a gang of white extremists bearing weapons and hurling racial epithets chased them. One victim Michael Griffith was chased to his death.

Michael Griffith died at the age of 23 when, fleeing from the rabid mob, he ran into the traffic of Belt Parkway and was fatally hit by a car.

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