Related story: Blacks doubt death in small Southern town is a suicide (FCN, 12-16-2010)
MOORHEAD, Miss. (FinalCall.com) – As the entourage of Black limousines pulled up to Ark of Covenant Church, it was hard to tell who was the mother of Frederick Jermaine Carter, the young man found hung from an oak tree early this month.
In this moment usually reserved for grieving, Brenda Carter-Evans wore a bright smile despite overlooking the casket of her son, whose death she says “was not in vain.”
“The Jesus that I serve gives me strength. I thank God for family–how they pulled together. So the smile you see on my face is because of the prayers of the nation. He’s honoring your prayers and He’s hearing them,” Mrs. Carter-Evans told The Final Call.
Over 300 attendees filled the church sanctuary on Dec. 19 for the funeral services. With many unanswered questions still surrounding his death, family and friends shared joyful memories of the victim.
“He was a loving and compassionate person who always thought about other people. My son was about the children,” said Mrs. Carter-Evans, who also sung a solo.
“He was a great worker and a great person. He was kind. He always tried to help anyone that he could. He always tried to do right. The children loved him. Whatever he could help them with he did. When you lose a love one it affects you in many ways,” said Luell Evans, his stepfather.
According the obituary, Mr. Carter was born in Worcester, Mass., where he was an active member in church at an early age. He studied to be a computer technician before moving to Sunflower, Miss., to be with his mother and two sisters. He was a multi-talented athlete, painter, construction worker, mentor, and one who always had a pleasant smile, says his family.
Mr. Carter’s body was found Dec. 3 in the predominately White North Greenwood area of Leflore County. The service was intense, highly spiritual and the greatest applause came when speakers challenged the reports that this death was a suicide.
“The truth will come out. I can’t see him hanging himself. You can get by the judgment of man but you can’t get away from the judgment of God. Right now we don’t know what happened but God knows and nobody gets away,” said Pastor Fred Griggs.
Abdullah Yasin Muhammad, a son of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, told the audience, “This brother’s life was not in vain. His face has become the national attention of the whole world. You’re not buying the crap that this was a suicide. We will not rest until justice is done.”
The preliminary autopsy results by the Leflore County Coroner’s Office declared it a suicide. County Sheriff Ricky Banksreportedly told media that evidence shows that Mr. Carter tied himself to the limb of the tree after leaning the old frame of a table against the tree trunk.
According to attorney Valerie Hicks Powe, the family is seeking a second autopsy and calling for the involvement of federal authorities.
“We’re really disheartened that the local authorities really have not launched what we feel is a credible investigation. We’re going to push, with the help of others across the country, the (Obama) administration and the Justice Department to launch an investigation to determine the reason why this young man was found where he was. It doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Ms. Powe.
Over 60 members of the Nation of Islam came from over five states in the South to support the family. The Fruit of Islam served as pallbearers and on-site security. Attendees requested copies of The Final Call newspaper bearing the image of Mr. Carter on the cover to have as a keepsake.
“We stand with you and we love you. We want you to know that you’re not alone,” said Larry Muhammad of the N.O.I. Study Group in Greenville, Miss.
“God used (Frederick) Jermaine to bring us together from all walks of life. He was so excited to work, he had plans to have his own family, he was always giving and the children loved him. Now that’s the type of man they say something was wrong with?” said Minister Williams Ames as he questioned early news reports that Mr. Carter had a “mental condition.”
Rasheedah Annoor Muhammad of Greenwood, Miss., said, “I think the mother is so in tune with the spirit of God. Any mother losing a child is a difficult thing. We wanted to be here as sisters to comfort the mother.”
“This doesn’t need to die after the funeral. We have to continue to do what we need to do to bring justice to this family. They need to find out what was done to Jermaine. It definitely wasn’t of his character to do something like this,” said Sunflower, Miss., Mayor Michael Pembleton, Jr.
Community refuses to accept suicide (FCN, 12-23-2010)
Blacks doubt death in small Southern town is a suicide (FCN, 12-16-2010)