Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.
One night in July, Bernard Robert Monday Jr. finally had enough.
The violence had been going on at least a decade, maybe longer. In 1937, when Bernard was 8, his father attacked one of two deputies serving a warrant and tried to grab the officer’s revolver out of its holster.
Bernard was asleep when it happened, about a week before his 19th birthday. His parents, Bernard Sr. and Johanna, were arguing because a friend hadn’t repaid a loan. His father, a tinsmith who operated a small shop behind the house at 3414 Pasadena Ave., threw a load of groceries into the street. Then he knocked Bernard’s mother to the floor, picked up the kitchen table, threw it on top of her and began jumping on her.
But this time, Bernard got his father’s .38 and shot him twice in the stomach. He died before the ambulance arrived.
The judge dismissed the charges and Bernard was freed. His mother died three years later at the age of 66. It isn’t clear whether Bernard had siblings or relatives—his father was described as a former member of the merchant marine and a Dutch sea captain—but none turn up in public records. Bernard died Feb. 27, 1993. I wonder what sort of life he had.