Elizabeth Hamilton, Hartford (Conn.) Courant, April 21, 2007
Only one person cried at the funeral. No one else, in fact, in the 300-person crowd so much as sniffled when the casket was rolled down the center aisle. And when it was time to pay their respects, the mourners threw flowers contemptuously, angrily even, into the open casket.
The name of the deceased?
The word “Nigger,” more commonly known as “Nigga.”
The funeral was staged, of course, but the emotions were very real as people attending the NAACP’s northeastern regional conference buried the “N-word” Friday night.
The funeral began with a casket, donated for the event by the Henry L. Fuqua Funeral Service in Bloomfield, being escorted down the center aisle in the Hilton Hartford Hotel’s grand ballroom by two rows of white-gloved pallbearers.
One-by-one, young people with the youth/college division of the NAACP, stepped up to the casket and delivered stingingeven jubilanteulogies to a word they said should have died a long, long time ago.
But the impetus for the funeral was larger than that, the young NAACP members said, because the N-word is so commonly used in society, particularly in music and entertainment.
The obituaryyes, there was even an obituaryfor the word traced its hurtful origins. Of “Nigga,” the obituary said:
“Born to Nigger, the most oppressive force in the civil rights era, he was already well acquainted with the African American community. Like his father, Nigga focused all of his energies in belittling and oppressing African Americans to a state similar to that of slavery.
“Infiltrating into black communities, Nigga managed to disguise himself as a friendly, comical reference. He introduced the world to his cousin Bitch and Hoe. Together the three have been a dynamic force in black culture including music, film and literature.”
The funeral was just one part of a weekend-long series of workshops and events at the NAACP’s regional Civil Rights Advocacy Training Institute. The NAACP’s northeast region consists of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.