'A Black American Tragedy': Parents Of Bakari Henderson Speak On His Death
The parents of Bakari Henderson, the black man who was killed overseas in Greece during an altercation at a bar, has spoken publicly for the first time since his death.
Jill and Phil Henderson spoke with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King about their 22-year-old son, who passed away last month on the Greek island of Zakynthos after a mob chased him outside of a bar and proceeded to attack him. Bakari, who had recently graduated from the University of Arizona, was in Greece to take pictures for a clothing line he was launching. The Hendersons learned of their son’s death after missing a late night phone call from the U.S. embassy.
“I was thinking maybe, ‘Okay, you found his wallet. He’s over there, and he’s tryin’ to get to another country. What’s goin’ on?’ So, when I called and I’m hoping because it’s that night call, you know, you don’t want, so I’m just hopin’,” Phil said. “We prayed before we even called her back.”
The altercation stemmed from a woman asking for a selfie with Henderson in a Serbian bar, to which a Serbian man asked her “Why are you talking to a black guy?” before hitting Henderson in the face.
During the interview, there is this exchange between Jill and King where the former speaks of his son feeling more comfortable being overseas than in America because of his blackness, only to be harassed and ultimately killed because of it.
Do you think this was a racially motivated incident? Or do you just think it was just something that was out of control, and he just happened to be the unlucky victim here? King asked.
How it started may not have started that way. It may have started out as an American issue, and then resulted in, you know, a black American tragedy,” Jill said.
The Hendersons said their son was comfortable traveling around the world.
More comfortable overseas than in the United States, Jill said. He just felt it was safer over in Europe and overseas in general. He said, you know, with the climate, with African-American males in the U.S., that he just felt more comfortable overseas.
Isn’t that ironic, that he could say to you, ‘I feel more comfortable in another country other than my own’? King said.
Yes. Yes, Jill said.
And he ends up losing his life in another country. For what reason, we still don’t know exactly, King said.
“Exactly,” Jill responded.
Henderson’s parents want justice and have hired a lawyer to represent their son when the case goes to trial. A number of GoFundMe pages have raised more than $100,000 to cover the costs. However, Bakari’s remains are still in Greece, with the Hendersons only receiving one call from a member of Congress, Sen. John Cornyn‘s office, about having Bakari’s body sent back to the United States.
As for Bakari’s attackers, nine suspects face charges of voluntary manslaughter for the violent beating.