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Gone But Not Forgotten - James Byrd, Jr.

May 2, 1949 - June 7, 1998

To some you may have been a simple man, but to me you are my hero. You are the pure manifestation of everything I stand for, your are the voice of my image. You were trusting enough to rely on help from people who have never given you a hand. You believed in their spirit to let the color of your skin, not dictate your character. You are everything my heart is today.

I wonder what your thoughts were as you were dragged down the road. As you tried to raise your head for the fight of social justice over the jagged rocks, metal and dirt, you held your head high even in this lowest position. As you tried to survive for future generations, I felt you. As you tried to rise up on your elbows, you gave me all the hope I ever needed in this life. You are everything I fight for today.

In any race no one wants to be last, I am sure you didn't want to be coined "the last lynching" in this race for social justice. They might not have hung you by the tree, but the way your body was dragged, they lynched your future existence. For three miles you fought, harder than many of us have ever fought.

You were someone before you were killed, your murder was not the making of you. You were decapitated, but your soul survived. My hero; through your story I live, you have breathed life into everything I am today. I must show my appreciation. You may be gone, but you are not forgotten. I will never forget your name, I will never forget your heart.

May peace rest with you.

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