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
“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.
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.
On Thursday, April 26, 2018, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Montgomery, Alabama. It was the vision of Attorney Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). The grand opening was attended by thousands from all over the United States and several foreign countries. The Legacy Museum is the culmination of years of research into America’s history of racial inequality and continued exploitation of Africans brought here in chains against their will.
New Executive Director of LSP...
We are excited to announce that John Ashworth will take on the role as Executive Director of the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis. John previously served as Project Manager for the May 21, 2017 centennial commemoration of the lynching of Ell Persons.
John Ashworth has served as Chairman of the Elbert Williams Memorial Committee in Brownsville, Tennessee. Mr. Elbert Williams was a lynching victim in 1940 as a result of his leadership in organizing a chapter of the NAACP in Brownsville (Haywood County).
African-American historian John Ashworth will lead a citywide interfaith prayer service May 21st at the site where Persons was murdered, nearly 100 years to the date it occurred. Newspapers in 1917 created a spectacle of Persons' death for days leading to it, gathering thousands of people to what is now Summer and the Wolf River. After he was set afire, Persons was decapitated and taken to Beale Street, and his head was hurled at a group of black pedestrians.
We hope you can join us from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at Caritas Village, 2907 Harvard for a hour to meet and be in conversation with John. It will help our planning if you will contact us with your attendance plans.