A Symposium to engage courageous conversation about the shadow cast by Ell Person’s lynching
On May 22, 1917, local woodcutter Ell Persons was lynched at the old Macon Road bridge near present-day Summer Avenue. He was accused of murdering a young white student whose body was found at the same location earlier that month. Despite the lack of evidence linking him to the crime, Persons was abducted from sheriff’s deputies by a white mob and burned to death in front of a crowd of thousands. The murder was announced in the newspapers leading up to the day, ensuring a crowd of thousands in attendance to watch the killing.
The Lynching Sites Project of Memphis believes that if Memphians together can face the horror and terror of lynchings head-on, people will be empowered to face all the other challenges in Memphis with courage, humility and hope. On October 15, 2022, we invite the entire Memphis community to join the Lynching Sites Project for a Symposium on the life and 1917 lynching of Ell Persons, and to illustrate the needs for its inclusion in the National Park Service system. You can find registration information on this page and by clicking here to register for this symposium. This symposium will feature speakers from a range of backgrounds to ensure a robust discussion on the shadow cast by Ell Person’s lynching over a centry later.