One hundred and twenty five years ago, on the night of July 22, 1893, law and order broke down in Memphis. A mob of several thousand attacked the jail; meeting almost no resistance from officers, they seized Lee Walker, a young African American man. The mob dragged Walker from his cell, beating him, stabbing him, and stripping him of his clothing. They took Walker north on Front Street to an alley between Sycamore and Mill Streets, where they hanged him from a telegraph pole. Once Walker was dead, many spectators left, but some mob members cut the body down, burned it, and mutilated it
My journey back to Memphis and ultimately the site of the lynching of Ell Persons began with some basic historical research of my family. My Great Grandfather was one of the Memphis Police City Detectives who investigated the murder of Antoinette Rappel in 1917. He was also involved with the interrogation of Ell Persons and and was one of the authorities who successfully transported him to Nashville after the forced confession. No one living in my family today ever knew about this tragic murder back in 1917 as well as the horrific lynching that subsequently occurred.
The United States Senate’s three black members introduced a bill on Friday that would make lynching a federal hate crime.
The move came more than two weeks after a similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives. Nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress from 1882 to 1986. None were approved.
“Charlie Morris and Tom Carlson, Companions in Truth” by John Ashworth, Executive Director, Lynching Sites Project of Memphis
I am often emotionally pulled in many directions as I do the work of remembrance of the victims of our nation’s tortured domestic terrorism campaign from the end of the Civil War until about 1960. Along the way, all the people I work with in this effort leave a lasting impression that gets buried in my subconscious. Until that memory gets jarred in some significant way that memory remains among all the rest without much thought.
The Lynching Sites Project of Memphis partners with a growing network of organizations and congregations of faith in order to acknowledge our shared history of racial violence and our ongoing resolve for racial justice and racial healing. One such organization is the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee, which has commissioned the creation of a sculptured monument by Chicago artist, Richard Hunt, to honor the life of Ida B. Wells. Ida B.
My reflections of the Montgomery journey. I/we went on Saturday. Our entry was 1:30pm. The museum was informative. For me how long this has been going on. For me like it was something that so called white people were entitled to do. Then the children that are locked up for life. These are children. Who does that to children and why? Museum left me without any and I mean no good feelings about so called white people. So the memorial wasn’t t much better. Walked through the first garden trying to prepare myself for what I was sure was going to effect me in some way.
By Vanessa Gregory
The April 29th issue of the New York Times has an excellent article by Vanessa Gregory, a writer based in Oxford, Mississippi. The article, "A Lynching's Long Shadow" is about the important story of Elwood Higginbotham; a story from our area that had national implication in the larger tragedy of lynching.