Hammondee Green was a World War II veteran who put his life on the line for his country. After he was honorably discharged in 1946, he was murdered in Amite, La., in 1956 while in custody of the Amite Police Department for reasons unknown according to his family. His family never saw justice for his untimely death, and his grandchildren never got the opportunity to meet their grandfather.
For decades the family heard the oral history of the terrible atrocities of what happened to their grandfather and great-grandfather. Robert Jackson said that many people seek history from movies and things of that nature, but how many African-Americans sit down and engage in their family history, he said? Jackson asked genealogist and local historian, Dr. Antoinette Harrell to help him research his family history in honor of Black History Month. Harrell started conducting genealogical research on the Green family of St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. St. Helena is one of the eight Louisiana Florida Parishes.
Life for Blacks was challenging during the era of Civil Rights and Jim Crow. St. Helena Parish was a large slaveholding parish during the slavery era. Hammondee Green left Louisiana in the around 1936 and moved up north to escape the harsh treatments of racism and Jim Crow.
When he returned back to Louisiana on furlough, it all started when he went to the cleaners to pick up his clothes, and he didn’t say “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” to the white lady employed there.” Later, when he went back to get his clothes out the cleaners, the white lady said that’s that biggity some of a “b****,” says his only living sister Bertha Green Coleman. The two exchanged words, and that was the beginning of trouble for Green. Bertha was twenty-five years old at the time when her brother was brutally murdered. Sixty-three years later, the Green family wants answers.
They beat him, they castrated him, and they shot him. After they castrated him, they stuffed his testicles in his mouth, said, several family members. They moved his body around for five days, and they couldn’t locate his body. When they brought him back to Amite, Louisiana, his mother, Ella Jackson Green, wasn’t strong enough to identify her son’s body. She sent her two sons, Percy and Roosevelt, to identify the body. His eleven-year-old nephew Adolphus went to the funeral home with his uncles; he recalled looking at his uncle lying on the table covered by a white sheet with only his head visible. “I remember seeing a hole in his head that had a gunshot and burned marks on his skin,” says Adolphus.
Sixty-three years later, the family finally gathered to discuss what happened to their deceased loved one, with each other. The family organized a gravesite vigil and laid white Carnations on his grave in memory of him. His sister, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other family members are searching for answers. After doing research, it was discovered on the death certificate from the Louisiana State Archives the cause of death was “unknown” due to “drunk and fighting,” leaving the family with more questions.
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