Black lawmaker addresses lynching threats on House floor

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) took to the House floor on Tuesday to address the recent threats of lynching he’s faced since calling for President Trump’s impeachment.

Green first thanked those who’ve expressed support and provided advice, singling out fellow Congressional Black Caucus members Reps. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).

“For those who may not know, some very ugly things have been said. But they are not in any way comparable to the many kind words that have been expressed,” Green said.

Green first drew attention to the racially charged threats he’s received during a town hall meeting over the weekend, where he played recordings of threatening voicemails left at his congressional offices, as reported by The Houston Chronicle.

“You’ll be hanging from a tree,” one caller said.

“We’ve got an impeachment for you. It’s going to be yours. In fact, we’ll even give you a short trial before we hang your n—-r ass,” another said.

Green spent the rest of his floor speech reciting a poem by James Patrick Kinney called “The Cold Within” as a way to “to explain why some of these ugly things are occurring.”

“This poem speaks to the extreme cupidity in our world. Not stupidity. Cupidity,” he said. “It speaks the extreme prejudice that some have to endure.”

In the poem, six people seated around a fading fire refuse to help each other because of their personal grudges and prejudices. They all end up freezing to death as a result of their selfishness.

It reads:

“Six humans trapped by happenstance
In bleak and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs
The first man held his back
For of the faces round the fire
He noticed one was black.

The next man looking ‘cross the way
Saw one not of his church
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes.
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight.
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

Their logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.”

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