Continuing on in the "Represent" freewrite with The Posture of Innocence ... in day 8, we meet Mr. Jetson Black, private investigator and the skilled hand behind the scenes who created a test for Captain Lee by having Mrs. Tallie Mae Jones go to him and ask that the Soames case be reopened. If you have read along, you know Captain Lee passed his first test, so, also in day 8, we get to see the reaction of the Jones family through Mr. Black's eyes, on the day the Big Loft police admit the truth and give Tom Jones a full public exoneration. But the tests are not over for Captain Lee ... Mr. Black has other things in mind for him and his police department!
Away we go into part 8 ... the celebration, and the preparation for the next stage ... a turning point in the story ...
Up in Charlottesville that afternoon, Mr. Jetson Black got a phone call from a source in the department, smiled, and got on the telephone.
“Turn on the midday news, Mrs. Tallie Mae Jones.”
Thirty minutes later, Mr. Black was witness to the jubilation and praise to God of the entire Jones family in Virginia, who came over to their matriarch's home in Virginia to share the half-hour when their beloved Tom received his full public exoneration, 25 years after his acquittal. Mr. Black would arrive in time to share in the celebration that evening, at about the same time Mr. Tom Jones and his family arrived after taking a quick flight down from Pennsylvania.
It struck Mr. Black – what complete vindication represented to a Black family, as opposed to what many Whites feared it would represent. The Joneses and their Jubliee relatives had been vindicated, but were not vindictive – there was no talk of revenge, nor immediate concern to make chattel and profit out of their experience at the expense of Lofton County. They certainly appreciated how Captain Lee had laid out exactly how many times Mrs. DeVille had lied in 25 years, and also her motives as seen from the available evidence, but none of that was new to them, as it would not be new to any Black family that was clear on the actual trajectory of U.S. history.
The main thing was that Tom Jones had come right home – and, he looked none the worse for wear. He had gotten on with life in Pennsylvania with the powerful Jubilee and Exodus cousins up in those parts, and raised his family. The attitude was victory – he had survived and thrived, and now, those who had tried to stop him were the ones who were going to have to worry about their own survival.
Mrs. DeVille's number had already come up: Captain Lee had said the word “perjury,” and if he had even been allowed to utter the word about that severe a charge on a White woman who lied on a Black man, that meant her goose was cooked. Five years was not a long time, given that Tom Jones had been away for 25 years … but then again, Tom Jones was only 45, and Mrs. DeVille was 72. It would be long enough, and Captain Lee had already open and shut that case, provided an honest prosecutor could be found. If not, well, the Lofton County Free Voice was loud enough to make whatever remained of Mrs. DeVille's life perfectly miserable, and, civil remedies were available as well. The Joneses and their relatives did not put options off the table – they would extend their victory however they felt necessary.
However, the main thing was that 91-year-old Mrs. Tallie Mae Jones got to hold and be held by her grandson once again, and her granddaughter-in-law, and her great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren as well. There was much praise to God, and much planning of the future between the Pennsylvanian and Virginian branches of the family. Too much loving and building to be done to be concerned with revenge at that moment.
Meanwhile, other members of the family kept watch … it was a quiet celebration, well indoors, because the Joneses and Jubilees and their friends knew that the exoneration itself could be an excuse for racial terrorism to come knocking. No need to forget where one was, in one's rejoicing.
Mr. Jetson Black believed this also, and stood part of that watch with his hosts before getting settled in at a local bed-and-breakfast. Before bed, he reviewed his entire file on Henry Fitzhugh Lee.
“Well, so far, Lee, you have lived up to your stellar reputation, and you represent the recovery of the Southern White man from his traditional racist ways very well – so far,” he said to the folder. “On the other hand, the bar is not that high either, given your Confederate forebears. Tomorrow, I'll find out what you truly represent when the Civil War in its never-ended cold form is brought back to you, and you have to go take down some White men very like yourself in order to do right. Your great-great-great-uncle failed right there, even knowing better, and fought for the wrong to avoid such a confrontation. Will you succeed where he failed? We'll soon see.”