11 Lynching Monuments in the USA
N.B.: There must be more lynching monuments than these few. Please email any information you have to geovisual @ comcast.net. Thank you.
Right click image to enlarge.
August 7, 1930 - Grant County Courthouse, Marion, Indiana (USA). Unintentional monument. Site of August 7, 1930, lynchings, reportedly the last [lynching] in the North. We [Loren Ghiglione & 2 others - firstname.lastname@example.org] met [in 2017?] with William Munn, Taylor University history professor & Grant County historian, who took us to a small church at Eighteenth & Meridian in Marion. There white workers, some Ku Kluxers, from nearby Superior Body (what irony in that name) plotted to pull three black teenagers out of the Grant County jail & lynch them from trees in front of the county courthouse. The teenagers had been accused of murdering a white man & raping a white woman. The noose was removed from the neck of one of the three, James Cameron, when a woman, by one account, shouted, 'Take this boy back! He had nothing to do with any raping or killing.' The two 1930 lynchings before thousands of whites, some of whom returned home with body parts & other souvenirs, were captured in an iconic photo. But today nothing in Marion memorializes the lynchings. All of the trees in front of the courthouse have been cut down, some say to remove from view the lynching trees. Munn said, however, that the courthouse trees are cut down regularly, 'so it is a little hard to make that connection.' But not even a plaque or sign marks the spot. The only reminder at the courthouse of race relations from that era is a monument to local soldiers killed during World War I. Two names have “COL.” next to them, not for colonel, but for colored. Munn said he went to the country commissioners to have that monument changed: 'They did say they would do something, but they haven’t.'" /// Upper image shows the courthouse (& trees) in 1908. /// 1930 IN MONDAY's
1996 - Historical Marker, Shaffer Chapel, Highland Avenue at Wolff Street, Muncie, Indiana (USA). "In nearby Marion, a white woman was raped and her husband was killed. Three black teens, Thomas Shipp, Abram Smith & James Cameron, were locked up in Marion’s downtown jail. Outside crowds formed & townspeople howled. After dark, on August 7, 1930, the mob broke into the jail, bound the teens & took them to a tree on the grounds of the Grant County courthouse. Cameron was spared. Shipp & Smith were hung in what is the last recorded lynching in a northern state. An iconic photograph was snapped of the murdered youths & the crowd. Jazz singer Billie Holiday’s lament 'Strange Fruit' was based on a poem about the lynching. The KKK intimidated the sheriff of Grant County & would not permit him to take the bodies down as a warning to other blacks about the fate that would befall them if they should be arrested in Marion. Local churches & funeral homes were refused to retrieve the corpses. /// One Muncie minister/mortician would not be terrorized, though... [and] the people of Shaffer Chapel would not be intimidated. 'The African-Americans had armed themselves on houses and behind corners and armed themselves to be able to tackle anything that came their way,' said City Councilman Julius J. Anderson. 'They were reinforcing themselves, I would say, to say, "Hey, look, this is not going to happen in Muncie."' The nightmare that was visited on their neighbors in Marion did not spill over into Muncie. Rev. Johnson finished his work, the bodies were embalmed & prepared for funeral & returned to their families in Marion. /// A green historical marker on the church grounds commemorates the courage of the pastor & his congregation & the white political leadership of Muncie that night. /// Now [in 2013], the church is in dire need of renovation & rejuvenation. The church & its members are leading a drive to raise $60,000 by the end of September to make the 120-year-old chapel handicapped accessible, to improve restrooms & windows & to landscape the grounds. The drive is led by Cornelius Dollison, who married his wife Mary in that church 51 years ago. 'We have to know and understand our history before we can move forward, and realize that all those things that happened 83 years ago, that’s part of our history,' said Dollison, as he stood in the sun before Sunday morning services. 'We have to look forward but we have to know &understand what happened back in that time to realize how important our freedoms are that we enjoy.' " /// 1996 IN
1997 - Lynching Memorial, Box X Cemetery, Ada, Oklahoma (USA). Commemorates the lynching of three men in 1909. "Erected 1997 as a memorial to the end of the Old West and the struggle for law and order." In storage 2009-2015 until relocated to the cemetery away from the site of the lynching. August 1999 - Lynching Marker, ______, Georgia (USA). Commemorates lynching of four African-Americans on July 25, 1946. Marker is 2.5 miles west of Moore's Ford Bridge on the Apalachee River where the lynching took place.
October 10, 2003 - "...Difficult to Speak & Impossible to Remain Silent" (Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial), Duluth, Minnesota (USA). "On June 15, 1920, Black circus workers Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson & Issac McGhie, falsely accused of rape, were hanged in Duluth while a white mob of 10,000 looked on. The lynchings made headlines throughout the whole country. The Chicago Evening Post wrote, “This is a crime of a Northern state, as black and ugly as any that has brought the South in disrepute.” The memorial dedication in 2003 drew thousands of people from all over the area. The first verse of Bob Dylan’s 1965 song 'Desolation Row' (he was born in Duluth) recalls the lynchings: 'They’re selling postcards of the hanging. / They’re painting the passports brown. / The beauty parlor is filled with sailors. / The circus is in town.'" /// This is "Monday's Monument" #99. November 6, 2012 - "On Election Day, an effigy of President Barack Obama [with a noose around his neck] was discovered hanging on a billboard in the city of Duluth. As stewards of a memorial, commemorated in our city on October 10, 2003 honoring the memory of three black men lynched here in 1920, CJMM, Inc. is compelled to speak out. The Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial [CJMM] is a testament to the public’s commitment to acknowledge its painful history and to move forward to build a more just & inclusive community. One of the quotes carved in the Memorial wall reads , "An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak and impossible to remain silent." (Edmund Burke) Tuesday’s symbolic act was another such event, and an assault on our community’s integrity. It was an act of injustice & exclusion. It was an ugly, hateful & blatantly racist way to express one’s opposition to our nation’s first African American President, seeking reelection on Election Day. As a community, we cannot tolerate bigotry & hate. We cannot ignore or remain indifferent to the heinous nature of this act. We can speak out & defy such behavior in our community. We can commit to actively eradicate racism & hatred in our midst. Clayton, Jackson, McGhie, Inc. Board of Directors. In Solidarity with the following Un-Fair Campaign Partners – Office of the Mayor, University of Wisconsin – Superior, Duluth Human Rights Commission, Lutheran Social Services, CHUM, Peace Church, YWCA, League of Women Voters & Men As Peacemakers. As well of the Office of Cultural Diversity at UMD, the Office of Institutional Diversity at CSS & Carl Crowford." /// MN 2003
December 12, 2013 - "Warehouses Used in the Slave Trade," 122 Commerce Street, Montgomery, Alabama (USA). Outside the Equal Justice Initiative building (once a slave warehouse). One of a series of markers for slavery & lynching by The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Bryan Stevenson seen in image. December 12, 2013 - "Montgomery's Slave Traders," 300 Water Street, Montgomery, Alabama (USA). Outside Union Station. "Describes the slave trade both by ship & by train." One of a series of markers for slavery & lynching by The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI).
December 11, 2015 - "Lynching in America," Brighton, Alabama (USA). One of a series of markers for slavery & lynching by The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). July 31, 2016 - "Lynching at Letohatchee," Letohatchee, Lownes County, Alabama (USA). One of a series of markers for slavery & lynching by The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) -- this one for 14 documented lynchings in Lownes County. SLAVERY 2016 MARKERS
March 18, 2017 - Lynching Memorial, Warren Temple United Methodist Church, LaGrange, Georgia (USA). Inspired by lynching in 1940 of Austin Callaway who "was commemorated in January 2017 at a reconciliation service at [this church]."
2018? - Memorial to Peace and Justice, Montgomery, Alabama (USA). A national memorial to victims of lynching & a museum that explores African American history "from enslavement to mass incarceration" will be situated within 150 yards of one of the South's most prominent slave auction sites & the Alabama River dock & rail station where tens of thousands of enslaved black people were trafficked. To be built & operated by The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) (headed by Bryan Stevenson). Will contain high-tech exhibits, artifacts, recordings & films, as well as comprehensive data & information on lynching & racial segregation [&] will connect the history of racial inequality with contemporary issues of mass incarceration, excessive punishment & police violence." /// Right image shows sites of 4,075 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in 12 southern states between 1877 & 1950. MUSEUMS FUTURE
Return to Peace Monuments main page.