On Monday, March 21, 2022, around 20 students from Valor Christian School in Colorado made a return trip to Memphis to visit LSP's Ell Person's lynching site. This trip was part of their Spring Work Visit project. Good Shepherd United Methodist Church graciously hosted the group prior to the site visit, and LSP Board member John D Ashworth provided a spellbinding explication of the generational impact of slavery and racial violence on persons of color. LSP member Kelsey Lampkin gave a brief reprise of the incident and its impact on Memphis a century ago.
Since hearing the news of Sylvester Lewis’s passing my mind has been racing to put context to what it is that we lost. Sylvester’s passing was not only a loss for LSP but for the larger community beyond the borders of Shelby County. It was in my capacity as the Lynching Sites of Memphis (LSP) Project Manager for the 100th Memorialization of the lynching of Ell Persons that I met Sylvester in his capacity as Vice Chairperson of the Shelby County Historical Commission (SCHC).
On the occasion of his final presentation as executive director of LSP Memphis, I wanted to add my voice to the continuing chorus of accolades for his outstanding service to this deeply important work. I can think of no one who stands higher in my humble regard than John Ashworth. He brings to this work a zeal and seriousness that does not allow one to ignore the truth to which he bears relentless witness. He is an ever flowing fountain of inspiration and stimulation. He never speaks without divulging pertinent and timeless truth.
by Meghna Chakrabarti and Dorey Scheimer
October 23, 2019
Click here to listen to LSP Executive Director, John Ashworh along with Rep. James Clyburn, NYT columnist Charles Blow, and award-winning author Isabel Wilkerson talk about President Trump likening the impeachment inquiry to a lynching, and the political weaponisation of one of the darkest parts of American history.
On Saturday, October 19, 2019, the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis dedicated two markers to African American victims lynched in Shelby County, Tennessee. One was killed in 1851 and the other in 1869. I have long contended that there is a straight line between the events of yesteryear and the way African Americans are treated and perceived by very powerful and influential voices today.
The name of the 1851 victim is unknown, but for purposes of this article, I refer to him as George. The 1869 victim was Wash Henley.