Retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter
Retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter was midway through his speech at a Memorial Day ceremony in an Ohio cemetery when he started discussing the role that freed Black enslaved people played in an early event honoring Civil War dead.
Suddenly, his microphone cut off. Kemter, 77, tapped it a few times before yelling for assistance.
Kemter began his speech by discussing how Memorial Day was born after hundreds of thousands of soldiers who died in the American Civil War were in need of a proper burial place. Then, shortly after beginning a discussion of the role that Black Charleston residents played in the holiday, his microphone stopped working.
Kemter did not think much of it when the audio came back minutes later, just after he had finished discussing the holiday’s Black history. He assumed it was a technical glitch.
But the disruption was no glitch. One of the event’s organizers later admitted the audio had been deliberately turned down.
Kemter’s speech included details about a Memorial Day commemoration in Charleston, S.C., organized by a group of Black people freed from enslavement less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865.
We've asked Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter to come to Buffalo to finish his speech.