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).
Matteo and I have been collaborating on this amazing story for almost a year. With the help of historians, archivists, and the energy and expertise of the people working with The Lynching Sites Project of Memphis, we have very nearly completed research on historical background of this tragedy. We have scouted and filmed almost all the major locations associated with this lynching, and have identified and located descendants of the families and individuals involved in the lynching and are now in the process of interviewing those willing to talk.