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Tennessee Three Triumphant!

Left:Gloria Johnson of The Tennessee Three at Fisk University (Credit Image: © Tabitha Hawk/ZUMA Press Wire) Center: Justin Jones awaits the start of the hearing which will reinstate him to the Tennessee State Legislature. He had been removed for leading a protest against gun violence following six deaths during a school shooting. (Credit Image: © Sue Dorfman/ZUMA Press Wire) Right: JUSTIN PEARSON, one of the two Tennessee legislators expelled after leading protest chants against gun violence in the Statehouse, speaks at a rally following the reinstatement of Rep. Justin Pearson to the legislature. (Credit Image: © Sue Dorfman/ZUMA Press Wire)

By David Mark Greaves
Watching Rep. Justin J. Pearson, with his large afro, speaking on the floor of his Tennessee legislature, I was struck by how much he and Rep. Justin Jones also expelled, evoked memories of Martin Luther King Jr. and young activists coming from the HBCU campuses of the 1960s with White supporters like Rep. Gloria Johnson. White supremacists in the legislature had objected to the megaphone Representatives Pearson and Jones used to speak to the gallery of anti-gun violence supporters. So, they did what the arrogantly stupid do and expelled the two Black representatives.

And in a classically elegant example of “unintended consequences,” they gave Pearson and Jones a platform for wall-to-wall, all-network media coverage, a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris, a phone call from the president, and, previously obscure, now they are of far greater consequence in the national dialogue on gun control than any of those who voted to expel them for speaking about it. What a great Resurrection Day story.