“We took it to heart. On the 100th year (of Ell Persons’ lynching), we could do something major and involve the whole community in another way…so we started working,” said Pan Awsumb, volunteer with the Lynching Sites Project.
The service brought out officials like Congressman Steve Cohen and Mayors Jim Strickland and Mark Luttrell.
“This is a special day in Memphis when people of goodwill have come together to reflect on an incident 100 years ago when people of ill will took the law into their own hands,” Cohen said during the prayer service.
"We can't right the wrong of 100 years ago," Strickland said. "But we acknowledge the wrong so that all our community is aware and all of our community remembers. Today, we gather as a community to remember and to celebrate ... to encourage healing."
Faith leaders across Memphis led the crowd in prayer and hymns.
Direct descendants were located for the ceremony. In attendance were Michele Whitney of Chicago, a great grand-niece of Persons, and Laura Miller of Memphis, whose great-grandmother was Rappel’s aunt.
May 24 2017 (all day)