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.
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.