Derontae Martin, 19, was reported dead early in the morning of April 25 at a residence located at 1773 Highway Z in Fredericktown, Missouri, owned by a white man named James Wade. Fredericktown is roughly an hour and a half from Saint Louis, Missouri. Martin, a resident of Park Hills, Missouri, allegedly died from a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head at 3:01 AM, according to local authorities. This interview with a local activist who has been seeking to raise attention to discrepancies in this situation reveals some sordid ties and connections. This writer personally believes, in light of available evidence, this interview, and knowledge of the dynamics of this region, that Mr. Martin is the victim of a lynching-murder, and attempted coverup.
T: Tell me a bit about Derontae. What was his background, what work did he do, how was his standing in the community?
M: Derontae was 19 years old. He was from Saint Louis. He was a defensive lineman at Central High School, recently graduated. He was training to get ready to go to football camp. He was well respected and liked in the community. At his vigil, teachers, classmates, parents of classmates, and others who knew him showed solidarity and support.
T: Were there incidents like this before in this area? What are the demographics like? How do most people in this area make a living? What are the race relations like?
M: This is, supposedly, not the first “suicide” that has taken place on Wade’s property. Wade is extremely racist and has made outrageous statements on Facebook against Black people. He also has known ties to law enforcement in the area. An individual I know came out of the nationalist scene here as a teenager and described Fredericktown as open territory for them. The demographics – this area is 1% Black, 4% Hispanic, and 95% white. This town only has around 3,500 people. Most of the people here work either at the prisons up in Bonne Terre/Pacific or in light industrial (warehouses, etc.) in the area. To get here requires taking I-55 and all the small towns on either side are full of racists. The Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are in Fredericktown. The main thing here is a lot of drug activity and big money being made off drugs. The Klan is involved in that. They do not like outsiders.
Black Lives Matter protests last year started after the murder of George Floyd. Local activists here were chased down the street by Boog Boys, III%ers, and Klansmen holding nooses in their hands. The cops did nothing. It’s like 60 years ago down here. They reached out to a local liberal activist group in Saint Louis who promised to send buses full of people down here, nobody came.
Note: A settler comrade who is from the area describes Fredericktown as “hella rotten. It’s like the Dukes of Hazzard down there, except worse, because the Dukes aren’t there. The towns and rural areas surrounding it too.”
T: What do you think happened at the party?
M: First of all, the party wasn’t even for Derontae’s school. He went to Central. There’s multiple accounts of how he got there. The main one is that he was picked up and brought there by some friends. Derontae supposedly was reluctant to go, because some guys that he had problems with were going to be there and supposedly trying to attack him.
T: Why would they want to fight him?
M: There was a guy named Adam who was arrested in Park Hills/Farmington because of an alleged shooting, and got charged with first degree assault. Apparently this white kid thought that Derontae had said something about him to authorities, and wanted payback. James Wade was known for throwing these types of parties and a lot of people think that he worked with these other kids to set Derontae up. Wade also knows cops down here. Put two and two together.
T: What organizing has already been done around this issue in Fredericktown? What are the opinions of Black people in the area about this situation?
M: The protests that have been going on in Fredericktown and Park Hills have been mostly white. The Black people here seem to have been either intimidated, or are unconcerned. It’s a fearful environment down here. Nobody wants to be next.
T: What has the Madison County Sheriff’s Office been doing? You mentioned incidents of possible corruption going beyond this, can you go deeper and explain this?
M: People here think they’re working with Wade and possibly even with some drug dealers. I’ve heard accounts of ties between drug activity and so called law enforcement in this area from those who’ve lived here for years. A lot of these small, rural towns are like this. Check this out – when the cops showed up, the crime scene was cleaned. The cops were ok with it. Martin’s body was found in a closet, yet he supposedly died out in the attic. There were supposed to be four other dudes up here with him, how did his body get in the closet? Was he dragged? His right hand was in a fresh cast. How can somebody with his good hand in a cast raise a pistol to their head and fire it?
T: Do you trust the administration in Madison County to provide justice for Daronte? Why or why not?
M: Absolutely not. Starting with the fact that James Wade hasn’t been arrested. Apparently the officers have been back to Wade’s house – why? Why the rush to rule this self inflicted in light of evidence shared by family and friends?
T: How can those of us who live in STL and across the country provide support for the people in struggle in Fredericktown?
M: Share any information that we run across regarding Daronte. You notice that this is not being covered in any mainstream media outlet. Keep eyes open for any actions going on in the area, around Park Hills and Fredericktown, in the coming weeks. Please assist with numbers for actions, and finances for family. There is no guarantee that justice will be served by these racist, corrupt authorities down here. Make donations to $martinfamdonations on Cashapp.
T: Thank you.
This is certainly a highly suspicious situation. Many New Afrikan (Black) youth have gone missing or been murdered in suspicious circumstances, with their last known acquaintances being colonizers. Kendrick Johnson, 17, was found upside down, rolled up in a gym mat, at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia, in 2013. Tamla Horsford, 40, died at an “adult sleepover” in North Georgia in 2018, again in the company of Europeans. There is an old joke about a Black man being found tied up, riddled with bullets, and thrown in a river, and his situation being described by the local sheriff as “the worst case of suicide I’ve ever seen”. It is obvious to all who can listen, see, and hear that Black people have been the victims of genocide in this country ever since we were forced to come here to be the first proletariat, the first working class which laid the foundations for this country to be the richest on Earth. James Yaki Sayles said that whenever a Black person dies, in any way, in this country, it is an act of genocide. The only way that people’s justice can be secured for Derontae Martin and the millions of other Africans being murdered at home and abroad is the final battle for national liberation and socialism, to eradicate this abominable place which calls itself a nation from the face of the Earth.