To Kill A Cross-Dresser – Jamaica Flirts With Jim Crow

Newton D. Duncan , Guest Columnist

Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. – (Devotions on emergent occasions No.17 – John Donne 1624)


To Kill a Mockingbird‘ is the title of a 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee. The novel captures the ignominy of white-against-black prejudice in the first half of the 20th century. The story is a tale on the link between ignorance and wickedness; ignorance that spawns intolerance and snuffs out innocent life.

In the book, the mob lynching of a black prisoner wrongly accused of raping a poor ignorant white woman is tantamount to killing a mocking bird – a harmless bird that does nothing but sings.

To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in Jim Crow America; the Southern United States between 1886 and 1964. A system of laws then enforced the segregation of blacks and whites. State-sponsored injustice gave whites impunity to lynch blacks.

Jamaica wrote its own mockingbird story with the mob lynching of Dwayne Jones, a 17-year-old male cross-dresser who made the fatal mistake of publicly attending a dance with his partner. Harper Lee’s reflective line to each reader, ‘Remember it is a sin to kill a mockingbird’, is as apt for bloodthirsty Jamaica as it was for Jim Crow USA.