Odell Lachney and Derek Chauvin

I’m afraid to watch the trial of Derek Chauvin, but it made me remember a tweet I’d read recently. It was about a New York soldier named Edward Green who was shot to death by a bus driver named Odell Lachney in Louisiana in 1944. Lachney had demanded that Green move to the back of the bus and Green refused. Lachney stopped the bus and walked towards Green. “A white passenger sitting directly behind the drivers’ seat, cautioned Mr. Lachney: ‘Don’t shoot him on the bus.’ Apparently heeding this advice, Mr. Lachney forced Private Green onto the street as he pleaded, “Don’t kill me, I’ll get off.” Lachney killed him anyway. Criminal charges were never filed.

So whatever became of the murderer Odell Lachney? I found a 1951 article in the Atlanta Daily World which indicated that Lachney went right on harassing and abusing people of color. The year before he’d told two African American couples on the bus to be quiet. One of the women refused, and Lachney once again stopped the bus. He went up to the woman and slapped her.

Just picture that. Picture your bus driver coming back and slapping a woman sitting near you. When her husband tried to protect her Lachney attacked him. The only people arrested, of course, were the two African American men defending their wives and themselves. The judge gave them a suspended sentence because they were provoked, he said. “I have also taken into consideration the person who made this complaint and it appears that on several occasions complaints have been filed against him in the city court.” The paper also mentioned Lachney’s murder of Private Green and that “various civic and business groups have petitioned for his removal from his job.”

It’s heart-breaking that horrible people like this can go on, murdering and assaulting people, and there are never any consequences. I’d hoped to find one shred of evidence that justice finally came for Odell Lachney. But I haven’t found much else about him except in the 1930 Census there’s an Odell Lachney who was married at 17 and living with his 17 year old wife Tammie, and a newborn daughter Dorothy Mae. (I think Dorothy Mae was living with an uncle in the next census, and was later married twice.)

The story did make the New York Amsterdam News, an African American-owned newspaper here in New York.

Private Edward Green Odell Lachney

Kazuo Ishiguro

I just finished Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel Klara and the Sun. Loved it, haunted by it. Ishiguro is now officially my current favorite author. I’ve also read Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.

I’m trying to decide which of his books to read next, but all his fans are incredibly divided about his remaining novels. Everyone mostly agrees that Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go are great, but his readers don’t mostly agree about the rest. I’ve gone through the reviews of his other novels and people love them, people hate them, it’s impossible to try to figure out which I might like. There’s no consensus.

Any opinions out there?

Bodhi sitting on Revenge by Yoko Ogawa and A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. I’m trying to decide which to take to work today to read on my lunch/dinner hour.

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa and A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

My DNA Results

I did the Ancestry.com DNA test and disappeared for a couple of days after the results came back. I’m sure I’ll be disappearing many more days in the future, it’s just so much fun. I was able to clear up one mystery. My grandfather on my mother’s side was adopted, and I was pretty sure I’d found his birth parents but now I could confirm it based on the DNA matches that popped up! The weird thing is, I got the most matches on this line, the line I knew nothing about until now. I got the fewest matches on both my father’s parents line, none on his mother’s. Hmmm.

The one surprise was this. I thought I was going to be mostly Irish and mostly German, and I was half right.

45% Irish
24% Scottish
14% England & Northwestern Europe
8% Germanic Europe
7% Norway
2% Eastern Europe & Russia

A picture of my father from his Brooklyn Technical High School yearbook picture. Now I’m curious about Gerhard Hubbe. A quick search doesn’t turn up much. Is he the Gerhard Hubbe who went into forestry and moved to Oregon? And died in 2001?

Brooklyn Technical High School

Got My First Shot!

I agonized about which to get. I wanted to get the one-and-done Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but the general wisdom seemed to be get the one you can get the soonest, and that was the Moderna. My arm hurt, and that was it. I’m scared about the possible side effects from the second shot, but I’m thrilled to be halfway there! I’m going to go to the movies! (I know, a weird thing to celebrate given all the choices, but there it is.)

My favorite talking building. It’s hard to see but there are bandaids all over the wall. It’s wonderful.

Barber: Prayers of Kierkegaard

From John Maclay, the director of my choir, The Choral Society of GRace Church:

During a week of solemn observance and reflection, this musical essay by the American composer Samuel Barber (1910-1981) seemed especially relevant. Written during World War II, Prayers of Kierkegaard is a beautifully crafted response to anxious times: an honest reckoning with adversity, emerging with a sense of hope and purpose.

We hope you enjoy (and feel free to share) the Choral Society’s concert performance of this striking piece, recorded live at Grace Church in May 2017, with Tami Petty singing the heartfelt solo originally composed for Leontyne Price.