Historical marker dedicated to Indiana lynching victim
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A historical marker has been dedicated in western Indiana in remembrance of a Black man lynched about 120 years ago by a white mob.
George Ward’s descendants, Terre Haute residents and the mayor were among those at Sunday’s ceremony in Fairbanks Park, the (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star reported.
George Ward was arrested in 1901 in the slaying of a white teacher, Ida Finkelstein. The mob took him from the Vigo County Jail and struck him in the head with a sledgehammer, said Terry Ward, adding that the attackers grabbed his great-grandfather along a bridge and bystanders pelted him with sticks.
“Imagine the pain and the fear and no one comes to your aid,” Terry Ward told those at the dedication.
George Ward then was hanged from a former wagon bridge. His body later was cut down and burned.
“George Ward was denied due process for a crime for which he was accused,” Terry Ward said. “He was killed by a mob that acted as judge, jury and executioner.”
The dedication was part of the national Community Remembrance Project, which recognizes lynching victims.
“If we don’t come together and memorialize victims of this kind of unjust terrorism, it says something about us,” said Bre Lamkin, part of the Equal Justice Initiative based in Alabama.
The marker dedication and other observances come amid a national reckoning on racial justice, including the practice of lynching, which was meant to instill terror in Black people.
“Our desire is to open the eyes of people today to the injustices of the past so in the future, we’ll never have to experience these atrocities again,” Terry Ward said.