I can remember when my cousin first told me that my brother did not die in the War, but was hanged for a rape and murder he did not do while in the Air Force. I did not want her to know what I was feeling at that moment, so I kept a straight face and blinked only a few times. I visited her and my uncle in the next state and on my way home, I pulled to the side of the road and allowed my tears to fall. Why didn’t my father tell me this? Why did he keep everything a secret? Was Herman Dennis Jr., my brother truly guilty of this crime? But when I listened and looked into my cousin’s eyes, I knew she was telling me the truth. Besides, his blood runs through my veins, no way I had tainted blood.
When I received his court records, my eyes widened, my heart began to race. Those words I had read, almost knocked me to the floor! My brother was innocent of this crime, but because he wrote and spoke about Jim Crow laws and racism in both the United States and the Air Force, he was fingered to take the fall. The evidence was all there, Thurgood Marshall, with his other attorneys, tried their best to free my brother from the net of injustice. After gathering this information, I presented to my family. Everyone was in disbelief because clearly he was proven innocent, but they hanged him anyway.
There was one proof of evidence that stood out for me. This happening, although not the only proof, but a strong one, clearly demonstrates how people with prejudice, racism and just pure evil hemmed around their hearts can destroy lives without even blinking. The interogating officer, Lt. Hacket got on the witness stand and testified that he told another person that he beat the confession out of my brother. Maybe I need to repeat that, Lt. Hacket, testified that he mentioned that he did beat the confession out of my brother. In the confession, my brother wrote that he and his brother Calvin Dennis committed the crime. I want to bring that to light because there was a reason my brother wrote that in the coerced confession. My brother did not have a brother. Calvin Dennis and he were not brother nor were they any kin. He wrote this, he testified so the courts would know that the confession had not truth to it. The courts? He meant the jury. The jury? This jury had no one on the panel who resembled him at all. They were all white. In 1949, he stood before a white jury, with a X on his back of rape and murder of a white woman. In his court records it is inconclusive about the woman being raped. In order to get Whites stirred up, just mention the word rape.
There is a colassal of evidence proving his innocence. If this were not true, I would never mention this to anyone. I would not blog, nor would I speak of his name.
My father I learned, was not able to deal with the fact that his son was six thousand miles away and he could not pull him out of the sinking sand of injustice, he found comfort in liquor. He drowned out his pain.
The Tracks of His Tears, is a true story of my brother’s life, his beginning to the last words he spoke on this earth. www.authorlucydennis.com. My brother I learned, wanted to move to a place where his soles would touch soil where the people did not worry about the color of another’s skin. Sadly, what he experienced in 1949-1954 still exist in this country. What’s so sad is people with racism hemmed around their hearts, find pleasure in evilness.
The book is a must read. There is a petition me and my family have started, along with the niece of the slain woman. We want the case re-opened. My family want this country to right this wrong. www.lucydennis.com