AP NEWS

County plans marker in remembrance of lynching victims

January 27, 2019

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Leaders of a Georgia county are planning a historical marker in remembrance of lynching victims.

DeKalb County commissioners recently approved placement of the marker near the Decatur town square, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported .

The Montgomery, Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative is sponsoring the marker.

Plans call for the marker to be unveiled during a weeklong celebration in September.

Data from the Equal Justice Initiative shows that 592 Georgians were lynched from 1877 to 1950. That’s the second-most of any state during the Jim Crow era.

According to the organization’s records, Fulton County had the most lynchings in Georgia with 35; and DeKalb County had four known lynchings.

In its resolution approving the marker, the commission describes the killings as “racial terrorism” that created lasting effects on African-Americans.

Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People began work on what they call the DeKalb Remembrance Project shortly after a trip this summer to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.

“We’re getting them as symbolically close to justice after death as we can,” DeKalb County NAACP member D.E. Smith said of DeKalb’s known lynching victims.

The Equal Justice Initiative is partnering with local governments and groups across the United States to place public markers that document lynchings in their communities.

In LaGrange, Georgia, a 2017 ceremony to place a marker in that town drew more than 100 people, including relatives of two lynching victims.

Teresa Hardy, president of the DeKalb County NAACP, was among those who traveled to the Montgomery museum. The museum commemorates the deaths of more than 4,000 victims of racial violence who are honored by a series of 800 steel monuments — one for every U.S. county where a lynching occurred.

“Those who went came back determined to lead by example in doing this work here in DeKalb,” Hardy said. “Since then, we continue to grow a broad-based community coalition in pursuit of this project. We’re ready to look back and move forward together.”

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com