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An African-American man

Ethel Freeman became famous in death, even though no one knew her name. For months, she was one of the many nameless people who lost their lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s deadly intersection of race and class. Her son, Herbert Freeman Jr., had successfully rescued the 91-year-old retired school employee from her flooded home, but once they were both sheltered, alongside thousands of other displaced hurricane victims in the New Orleans convention center, he could only assure her that help was coming as he watched her life slip away. Nearly four days later, a convoy of buses arrived to transport Katrina refugees to other facilities, and Freeman was forced to abandon his mother’s blanket-covered corpse in her wheelchair. He next saw his mother in a heartbreaking photo of the elderly Black woman, alone in death amid the random belongings of the desperate souls who managed to survive the nation’s shoddy post-Katrina rescue effort. Ethel Freeman became a lasting symbol of a government that failed the most basic responsibility to its citizens in the face of cataclysmic harm.... see more