Board President

John Ashworth is a Vietnam veteran with 21 years of active military service followed by 20 years of commercial aviation management.  His educational pursuits included studies at Tennessee State University, Columbia College, Missouri; Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan; and DeVry Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2007 he returned to his hometown of Brownsville, Tennessee, and pursued with diligence his interest in African American history.

He is the co-founder of the Dunbar Carver Museum in Brownsville, Tennessee; Co-Founder and Treasurer of the Geneva Miller Historical Society; Chairperson of the Elbert Williams Memorial Committee; Executive Director of the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis, President of the Board of Directors of Tennesseans for Historical Justice. The advantages of living in a small town allow him to remain civically engaged in the community, he is the Secretary of the Haywood County Election Commission, Historic Zoning Commission, and a member of the Brownsville Regional Planning Commission.

As he describes it, “I don’t sit around well”. He is an avid reader, quasi serious chess player, amateur photographer, loves to travel, but above all his most cherished and important title and occupation is: Co-Director of the Ashworth Center for Exceptional Grandchildren.

Board Vice President

Iris Love Scott is a native Memphian, attended Overton High school and is a graduate of the University of Memphis.  Iris’s work has been embedded in the Memphis community for over 25 years as she has worked tirelessly as a community advocate and grassroots efforts for the better part of her professional career.  

Iris came to LSP quite by accident after researching lynching victims in the south. This interest was piqued when a friend suggested going to Birmingham, Alabama to participate in a soil collection project with the Equal Justice Initiative and Bryan Stevenson. It was such a moving experience that she connected with the Lynching Site Project of Memphis.

Iris is a mother of one son, four grandchildren and three fur babies (two cats and one dog). Her hobbies are sewing, gardening, good cooking, picture taking and reading.

Treasurer

I am active in the LSP through my work as the treasurer, and also I occasionally assist with legal issues.  As I am unable to attend many meetings because of work obligations, I hope that I can continue to contribute by handling the treasurer's duties and any legal issues as they arise.  I have no particular vision for that work, it tends to be somewhat "nuts and bolts" - but am always amazed and impressed with the collective vision and work of all who are involved with the LSP.

I have been involved with the LSP since its inception.  I strongly believe in the mission, having worked in various capacities in various organizations working to better our city, with an emphasis on the racial issues and disparities that we live with as a result of our history.  I have come to believe that nothing may matter as much, or contribute to progress on those fronts as much, as grappling with the history of racial terror in America.

I am a graduate of Leadership Memphis, Class of 2010, have served on the board of directors of the Community Legal Center and the advisory board of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change and was a Corporate Fellow there in 2014.  I am currently Pro Bono Legal Counsel to Community LIFT and River City Capital. I am a shareholder with the law firm of Baker Donelson, where I have worked for 34 years.

I have been married for 38 years to Holmes Peacher-Ryan, who is a math professor at Christian Brothers University.  We have 2 kids - Molly, who works and lives here in Memphis, and Anna, who is a sophomore in college. I don't have hobbies, per se, but love to read and am developing a love of cooking.

Board Secretary

Richard is a Memphis native who graduated from Morehouse College and then Georgetown Law School. He has practiced in the area of intellectual property law in law firm private practice and corporate in house positions in Philadelphia, Chicago, and now Memphis. Outside of his law practice, Richard has volunteered his time serving at the local executive officer level in the Morehouse alumni networks in each of the three cities above. He reached the level of president in Chicago and in Memphis. While in Chicago, Richard led his alumni chapter in raising over a fifty thousand dollars in scholarship funds for area Morehouse students. While in Memphis, he was able to turn a loss leading event for his local alumni network into a positive generator of scholarship funds. Richard is pleased to lend his talents to the Lynching Sites Project to further the goal of changing the narrative in Shelby County. 

Richard is married to Rev. Ayanna Watkins, Executive Director of Memphis Interfaith Coalition For Action and Hope. They are the proud parents of two daughters, with the youngest born in the summer of 2020. Richard enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, bow hunting, cycling, and listening to live music. 

 

At-Large Board Member

From educating with Teach for America in New Orleans, lobbying for human rights in Washington, D.C., serving those with HIV/AIDS in East Africa, and working as an Episcopal priest in three states, Laura Getty's’ passion for urban ministry and social justice has been a continuous part of her journey. A Memphis native, Laura studied English and Religious Studies at Rhodes College and received a Master’s in Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary.

Laura currently serves as Canon Pastor for Parish Life at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Memphis, Tennessee where she oversees pastoral care and neighborhood outreach. Laura’s work is guided by the belief that holy ground is everywhere, and she is passionate about creating opportunities for others to experience that reality by partnering with community action groups to educate, worship, and have a little fun. A few such efforts include joining with Moms Demand Action to host an interfaith vigil for those killed as a result of gun violence; coordinating the 125th Anniversary of People’s Grocery Lynching; hosting the Memphis School of Servant Leadership “Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations of Race”; and leading a Lenten field trip tour to Slave Haven Museum and lynching sites. Laura has worked with and served on boards for the Memphis Christian Pastors Network, The Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope, and Overton Park Roots since listening to others’ sacred stories is one way to find solutions for human divisions.

With two boys aged five and seven, Laura and her husband Josh find life full of loving laughter and little toy cars. A little known fact about Laura: she once had a skydiving venture she would describe as “jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.” Having recovered from her daredevil ways, a few of her current favorite things include good poetry, stargazing, the color green, and whales.

At-Large Board Member

Timothy S. Huebner is the Associate Provost and Sternberg Professor of History at Rhodes College.  A specialist in the history of the nineteenth-century United States, he is the author or editor of four books, including Liberty and Union:  The Civil War Era and American Constitutionalism (2016).  In addition, he has published numerous articles in scholarly journals, and his essays, reviews, and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Nashville Tennessean, the Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch website, The Weekly Standard, SCOTUSBlog, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Prof. Huebner and his students gained national attention in spring 2018, when he led a collaborative effort among Rhodes College, historic Calvary Episcopal Church, and the National Park Service to erect a marker at the site of an antebellum slave market operated by Nathan Bedford Forrest in downtown Memphis. 

A member of the faculty at Rhodes since 1995, Prof. Huebner teaches courses on the History of the American South, U.S. Constitutional History, and the Civil War and Reconstruction era. He founded and directed the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, an interdisciplinary undergraduate research program, and later served as chair of the Department of History for six years.  Since 2019, he has served as Associate Provost at Rhodes. 

He is married to Kristin Lensch, and they have two children.

At-Large Board Member

Earnestine Lovelle Jenkins was born in Memphis, Tennessee.  Parents, Earnest and Lovelle Fouse Jenkins migrated to Memphis, respectively from Desoto County and Brownsville, Tennessee. My maternal great grandfather, Anderson Fouse, was a runaway slave from Alamance County, North Carolina. Previously owned by a family of German extraction,  Anderson made his way to Tennessee during the Civil War where he bought land and farmed, and that farm remains in the Fouse family today.  Following emancipation, my paternal great grandfather, Sam Mineral Jenkins, earned his teaching certificate in Mississippi. During the 1910s he migrated to Memphis where he worked as one of the first Black faculty to teach at LeMoyne Normal Institute, founded by the American Missionary Association to educate freed people after the war. It is now our city’s only HBCU; historic LeMoyne-Owen College.   

My life has been shaped by such stories, remembered and preserved as family histories passed down as oral tradition. They inspired the pursuit of learning as a student in segregated schools at Norris Road Elementary and Ford Road Elementary (where my mother founded the library), and then on to Whitehaven Elementary, where I was one of three Black students ordered to integrate the school in 1968. The latter experience made me determined to attend a Black college. I chose the unique experience at Spelman College, which has been invaluable. As a doctoral student in the History Department at Michigan State University, I majored in African History, minored in African American Studies and Art History, and carried out fieldwork in Ethiopia. 

Today, in my role as a full professor of Art History at the University of Memphis, I get to bring together my varied interests in the expressive cultures-histories of the African Diaspora, including African American history in Memphis. I hope to contribute to the Lynching Sites Project mission, as outlined in its strategic plan and marketing goals, by drawing upon a background in education teaching about difficult histories, in both academic and non-academic contexts. The work of LSP is an ethical and spiritual responsibility, that as a Memphian, I welcome the opportunity to serve.

At-Large Board Member

Laura Faith Kebede is a Memphis transplant from Virginia. She first got involved with LSP when she was gathering ideas for a memorial service to honor Charles Allie Thompson, who was lynched in her hometown in 1918. She stayed with the organization because she believed in LSP's mission to bring racial healing to both personal relationships and community institutions.

Laura is a freelance journalist and emerging public historian with a focus on translating how history connects to the present and how we can use lessons from the past to create a better future.

A descendant of enslaved people in South Carolina and of Ethiopians, the only African country that was never colonized, Laura believes an accurate telling of history is a powerful tool to promote healing and accelerate our nation's path to equality. 

At-Large Board Member

If you heard the story already I found LSP by accident. And now I'm here on purpose. With intent and purpose. This is a unique time and subject that we undertake. This Mission will take courageous and introspective people to accomplish it. I think I found them. My vision is to Shine the Light Of Truth on lynchings in America and help create a space of healing and compassion for those who bear this Lantern.

I am a member of Inward Journey a community of African American people that are about self-healing and racial Justice. Been a member of this community for 24 years serving on its board. I am also a member of MKp , mankind project serving on this board as well before moving on.

I am a father one son, grandfather / granddaddy of two girls 13 and eight that keep my time cover and accounted for. I am a widower after 30 years of marriage. A journey all of its own. I like music, travel, and chess when I get the time.

At-Large Board Member

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1949, my father was transferred to Memphis in 1962.  Our family of seven arrived in time for me to begin my secondary education at White Station High School.  Upon graduation I attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, receiving a bachelor’s degree in ethnomusicology in 1971.  

After thirteen years in the insurance business, I left for the General Theological Seminary in 1983 and was ordained an Episcopal priest three years later in Chicago.  Nearly five years ago I officially retired, having served full-time in a variety of settings and roles - within churches, hospitals, and a retirement community - in Eastern, Mid-Western, and Southern parts of the U.S.  Along the way, I suffered a divorce.

Returning to Memphis in 2001 after a thirty-five-year absence, I began chaplaincy work at Methodist Healthcare, where I met my wife, Eyleen Farmer, another Episcopal priest, now also retired (from Calvary Church, in downtown Memphis).  Eyleen is the founder of a sister organization to Thistle Farms called Thistle and Bee, devoted to the care and thriving of survivors of sex trafficking, prostitution, and addiction.

The majority of my work and passion since I retired from full-time, paid ministry has been in two arenas.  As a part-time interim pastor, I’ve served as an interim priest-in-charge of several small and large congregations in four states.  Most recently, I have worked and lived in both Montgomery and Scottsboro, Alabama. On June 1st, I began serving as Vicar (priest-in-charge) at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Memphis, which shares a campus with St. George’s School, dedicated to serving children of color.

I've also become active in racial healing and justice work outside the church.  Having served a term on the Countywide Juvenile Justice Consortium, I was asked to join an advisory group for a new Youth Advocacy Center in Shelby County.  I want to engage in that work with faith communities and the community at large around issues of 21st-century education and care, seeking a deeper understanding of trauma, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and what’s now called “healing-centered engagement.”

Since the summer of 2017, I’ve been mentoring a formerly-court-involved African-American teenager.  Rashod is, in my view, a young man who would have gone to a resource/assessment center for his misdemeanors, rather than juvenile court, if such a center had been available to him.

Finally, my involvement with the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis (I’m now President of the Board), affiliated with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, has been about my latest response to a sense of call and deep desire.  I want to be an instrument of healing and harmony, wherever I can, across racial and other divides, so that together, we can seek truth and justice for all God’s children, in Memphis and beyond.                  

    ~ June, 2019      

At-Large Board Member

I was born in Philadelphia, PA, and raised in the Southern New Jersey area (a town called Bridgeton). I would later move to the Atlanta area with my family shortly before the Olympics. In 2008 I moved to Wisconsin with my wife and two children, where we lived for nine years. During that time I was able to obtain bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Interpersonal/Organizational Communication. I moved to Memphis, TN in 2017 seeking a Master’s degree in Philosophy. After a year I was able to move into the doctoral program at the University of Memphis.

I learned about the Lynching Sites Project while attending a history class with Jennifer Mitchell Bennie. She would race off to the weekly meetings as our class was ending. It was through her invitation that I attended my first meeting last year. I was drawn to the mission of the organization in part because of my own academic interests. I am currently focusing on the thought of Ida B. Wells-Barnett and her anti-lynching work. It was after attending a commemoration service last year that I was convinced that I wanted to join the work of LSP. I was working alongside an organization dedicated to social justice work while in Wisconsin and was glad to find an organization here in Memphis where I could continue with that work.

I believe strongly in the work of the Lynching Sites Project. I agree with Wells-Barnett that we can only move forward through truth-telling. It is the truth that will set us all free together. I deeply appreciate LSP’s dedication to telling the truth.

At-Large Board Member

I was introduced to LSP by a friend from Chicago, organizer and historian Doria Johnson, whose great-grandfather was lynched. Doria was on a panel at Rhodes College with Timothy B. Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till.  Since becoming an LSP member I have participated in the commemoration of Ell Persons, attended the lecture given by Dr. Andre Johnson, Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Memphis, the Indie Memphis film festival, and the most recent LSP retreat. I would like to see the LSP mission embraced by members of the academic community at the Memphis Theological Seminary.

I grew up in a family of passionate civil rights and social justice advocates, and continued advocacy through my work as a pastor in the AME Church (retired).  I have been selected as one of the speakers for the 2018 Samuel DeWitt Proctor conference, themed “The Struggle Continues.”   

I am a graduate of the 1985 executive class of Leadership Memphis, and a charter member of the Starks Institute for Faith, Race and Social Justice at the Memphis Theological Seminary. I am a Golden Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  

I have one daughter who is a school psychologist in Denver Colorado. I enjoy listening to Audible and reading The Atlantic magazine. I do not subscribe to cable TV and I am an avid viewer of PBS television

At-Large Board Member

Habiba Tramel born and raised in Rochester, NY and moved to Memphis, TN in April of 2006 after retiring from a General Motors plant with 30 years under her belt. She then got custody of her four grandchildren who are now 25, 21, and 19-year-old twins.  Three are back in Rochester, but the 21-year-old is here with her in Memphis. She joined LSP along with Sam McDaniel and Iris Love-Scott under similar circumstances. She found the work to be quite rewarding and a learning experience as a born and raised Northerner. She is a member of several organizations, one being Inward Journey where she serves as an elder on the tribal council. This is another important organization in Memphis that helps make people aware of injustices and prejudices in the city.  She is learning and still adjusting to Southerners and Southern living and customs. She is always asked why she moved south if she has no relatives here, and her answer is “for my grandchildren and because it’s hot!”.

“Until the color of your skin is the target, you will never understand” Angela Davis