Finding Health After Letting Go Of Hate

Play associated audio

In 1939, Jessie Lee Bond died. His death certificate says he drowned accidentally, but his family has always maintained that he was lynched after an argument with white shop owners — shot and thrown into the river.

No one has ever been charged with his death.

Decades later, his now-91-year-old brother, Charlie Morris, told StoryCorps in Memphis, Tenn., that he was at school when he was called down to the office and told that his brother had been murdered.

Morris says that all he wanted was to get revenge. He went to his grandmother's house. He was crying and carrying a revolver. His grandmother begged him not to go.

"She says, 'Son, don't do this,' " Morris recalls. "She says, 'I've got one grandson dead. I don't want the burden of another grandson being dead.' "

Morris says the hatred he carried for 10 years after his brother's death was a burden.

"I was just sick. I was aching," Morris says. "I'd go to the doctor, [but] the doctor couldn't find anything."

One day, the doctor asked Morris to come back to the office and to bring his wife. The next Thursday, they showed up together.

"When we got in there, he started questioning her," Morris says. "I was having nightmares, but she never told me. I was crying in my sleep. I was calling for my brother."

Morris says he began to realize what was happening. "And the doctor told me ... 'I'm the wrong doctor for you.'

"And when I began to forgive, there was all the answers to my illness. I didn't have to go to the doctor anymore. I didn't have those pains. But it did put a dent in my life for a long time."

Morris' story inspired a Tennessee state representative to introduce a bill that would require the study of unsolved civil rights crimes. The bill has been stalled in the state Senate for nearly four years.

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Sonia Rykiel, Designer Known As The 'Queen Of Knitwear,' Dies

The famously redheaded Rykiel embodied the intellectual chic and feminism of Paris in the late 1960s. With vibrant stripes or simple black, her clothes hugged a woman's body.
NPR

Food World Rallies For Quake-Hit Amatrice, Home Of Famous Pasta Dish

In Italy and the U.S., restaurants are pledging to use sales of Amatrice's signature dish, spaghetti all' amatriciana, to raise funds for the Italian town devastated by Wednesday's earthquake.
NPR

Clinton: Trump Is 'Taking Hate Groups Mainstream'

"From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia," Clinton is expected to say Thursday in Reno, Nev.
NPR

Tesla Clears Antitrust Hurdle In $2.6 Billion Deal For SolarCity

The Federal Trade Commission signed off on Tesla's plan to buy the solar panel installer. CEO Elon Musk is SolarCity's chairman and its largest shareholder.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.