A marker dedicated to lynching victims, placed on the grounds of the Lafayette County Courthouse, will be dedicated Saturday, over a year after the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to construct the marker. The marker was erected in fall 2021, however, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the public ceremony to be postponed until this weekend.
The marker has the names of seven Black men who were lynched in Lafayette County.
The courthouse was selected as the most appropriate place for the marker because it will memorialize all seven victims at the center of the community according to April Grayson, a member of the Lynching Memorialization in Lafayette County steering committee. This will be the second marker the group has put up, the first plaque being placed to memorialize Elwood Higginbottom, the last Black man to be lynched in Lafayette County in 1935.
The marker dedication will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, on the Square. Representatives of the Lafayette Community Remembrance Project, The Alluvial Collective (formerly the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation), Equal Justice Initiative, Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, descendants of local lynching victims, the UM Gospel Choir and other local leaders and performers will participate in the ceremony.
The ceremony will be followed by a processional of family members to the marker on the east side of the courthouse lawn. Following the conclusion of the marker dedication on the Square, the dedication of a bench honoring the memory of Rev. E.W. Higginbottom will take place at the bench located at the Old Armory Pavilion at the corner of Bramlett and University Avenue at 5 p.m.
The dedication comes on the heels of President Biden’s signing of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act of 2022 on Tuesday. Named for Emmett Till, a Black boy from Chicago who was brutally murdered in Mississippi, the act designates lynching as a federal hate crime for the first time in American history.