Mark W. Sorensen, who is the Official Macon County Historian, has an article in our Scrapbook feature (pages 4 and 5 of this week’s print and online editions) about Decatur’s Darkest Day: The 1893 Lynching of Samuel J. Bush. The details of the article are shocking to read but in order to improve as a community, and society, we must learn from the past.
Sorensen has documented 27 lynchings of Black men in Illinois between 1854 and 1943. His article “Racist Terror Lynching in Illinois” comes out this week in ILLINOIS HERITAGE magazine. In 1990, Decatur native Dr. Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua was the first person to write a scholarly article about the lynching of Samuel J. Bush.
As I was preparing Mark’s article to include in this week’s edition I couldn’t help but notice the lynching of Samuel J. Bush in 1893 took place at the intersection of Water and Wood streets, only a half block south of the building that contains our newspaper offices.
I often walk across the street at that intersection but, after reading Mark’s article, I don’t think I will ever walk at Water and Wood streets again without thinking of the lynching of Samuel J. Bush and what happened to him there so many years ago.
• LOOK OUT! It amazes me how much access companies have to people online.
Recently, I was thinking of buying a new desk chair for my office and so, I checked online to see what a local store might have available.
Several models were offered but I clicked on one particular chair that I liked to find the cost and a few other details about it.
I didn’t purchase any chair but decided to go to the store and sit in the chair to see if I liked it, whenever I got the chance.
Within hours I was receiving emails from other chair manufacturers and retailers who not only showed me their line of chairs but focused on the very same style that I had clicked on at the first store’s website!
That’s online life today!
• A FEW DAYS ago, I happened to see an advertisement online (Facebook) for a van that had been converted into a motor home. I wanted to see some photos of the inside of the converted van so I clicked on those photos and enjoyed looking at the tiny home on wheels.
I am not interested in buying a converted van, but since I clicked on that one van story, I have received countless posts and other emails offering conversion vans for sale!!!!
Be careful what you click on to view online or you will get a mountain of posts and emails related to that click that you didn’t ask to see!
I’m considering going to an online medical site, or Facebook post, and click on “Hemorrhoids”. Fortunately, I’m not afflicted by that uncomfortable problem but I want to see how many Preparation H or other “rhoids” treatment emails and posts I receive because of clicking on that one word!
There is no privacy on the web!
• WISE MOVE — As indicated in the story on page 6 of this week’s print edition, Cheryl (Naber) Wise has announced her intention to seek election as Macon County Auditor. The rural Macon resident will file for nomination in the Republican Primary.
The Macon County Proposition To Eliminate The Office Of County Auditor that was on the April 4th Consolidated Election ballot resulted in a vote of 3,008, or 35.63% Yes votes and 5,435, or 64.37% No votes.
So, the elected office of Macon County Auditor will still exist by the vote of the majority and will continue to be part of the election process in the future.
Although the next primary election is a long way off, it was probably a “wise move” for Cheryl (Naber) Wise to get her candidacy on the record so potential candidates will know the person or persons they will be running against. Declaring a candidacy early also gives a candidate additional publicity.
• OUCH! Darrell Adcock of Illiopolis wrote a “Letter to the Editor” about the condition of a local bowling alley that was printed in the May 10th edition. (He never mentioned the name of the bowling alley but it is not hard to guess since most of the bowling alleys in Decatur have disappeared.)
A few days ago, Darrell wrote a follow-up letter about the first letter which stated: “I wrote a letter a few weeks ago on the bowling alley needing attention. In doing so I inadvertenly stepped on some of the toes of the employees of the alley who are trying to make things right.
“I apologize. I understand changes are on the way and some things will be corrected and made better.
“I’m not saying don’t stop bowling. Bring the family out for some fun. Start a league or join a league. The more people we have bowling the better the alley will be. Go bowling people!”
Darrell also wrote the alley has “an excellent pro shop. The men can help you with all of your bowling needs.”
Now, maybe the toes of the bowling alley employees he stepped on in his first letter will feel a little better after reading his above comments.
I’ll have to admit that I haven’t been bowling in a long, long time but I once did bowl on a regular basis.
Apparently, with the disappearance of nearly all of the local alleys, a lot of other area people stopped bowling over the years.
Maybe Darrell Adcock’s letter can get some more bowling lanes filled.
• DOUBLE OUCH! —- My real estate taxes went up again! How about yours?
I realize times change (not necessarily for the better) but I couldn’t help but think back to housing prices and real estate taxes when I first became a homeowner.
This is what shocked me: My real estate taxes for the past year, for owning and living in a Decatur residence, cost me more than the entire purchase price of my first three bedroom fairly new, ranch-style home!!
Our property taxes, like so many things today, are too high! Illinois is only second to New Jersey in having the highest property taxes in the U.S.!
• BLACK FLAG — I was walking inside the crosswalk in front of the downtown post office when a speeding car suddenly came flying up Franklin Street! I was almost across the street when the driver changed lanes and headed straight for me!
I barely made it to the curb when he went speeding by!
A few minutes later, as I was coming out the front door of the post office, a lady who had witnessed the speeding driver told me: “I thought that guy was going to run over you!!!:
I’ve written it repeatedly in this column in recent months: “I’ve never seen such irresponsible driving by so many motorists as I’m seeing now.”
I may have to carry a black flag with me and give irresponsible drivers on downtown streets the black flag — which means, in racing, that “a driver must go to the pits, either as a penalty for disobeying the rules (like failing to maintain a minimum speed) or to address a potentially dangerous problem with their vehicle”.
Of course, I’m not allowed to “flag” any driver on the community’s streets — but that doesn’t stop me from mentally black flagging him (or her) or giving them a “black flag” look during the second they fly by!
Drive, walk and jog defensively. Apparently, more than a few drivers consider crosswalks “invisible”.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider — something we’ve been during on Thursday mornings for the past 20 years.