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DeKalb County Memorializes Four Victims of Racial Terror Lynching

DeKalb County Memorializes Four Victims of Racial Terror Lynching from @eji_org
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The NAACP DeKalb Remembrance Coalition partnered with EJI to install a historical marker to memorialize the lynchings of four Black men in DeKalb County, Georgia, between 1877 and 1950.

On May 14, 2020, the marker was installed outside the DeKalb County City Hall in downtown Decatur. The coalition worked to plan a historical marker ceremony that was set to take place on March 29, but the ceremony plans had to be canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lynching in DeKalb County

On July 26, 1887, a black man named Reuben Hudson Jr. was riding on a Georgia Railroad train when a conductor claimed that he resembled a man accused of assaulting a white woman in Redan. After the conductor turned Mr. Hudson over to local officers, he was sent to Redan the following day, where a mob of 100 white men seized and hanged Mr. Hudson from a tree.

On April 3, 1892, a white mob from Lithonia pursued two Black men, whose names were not recorded by local news media, who were accused of assaulting a white girl. Newspaper coverage was sparse and did not include their names. When the mob returned without the men, newspapers reported that it was “generally understood that they were lynched.”

On August 21, 1945, Porter Turner, a Black taxi driver who served white passengers, was found stabbed to death on a physician’s lawn in Druid Hills. Officials assumed the motive was robbery. However, almost a year later, an informant revealed that members of the Klavalier Klub—a branch of the Georgia Ku Klux Klan—were responsible for his death.

Each lynching terrorized the Black community, and the perpetrators of these lawless acts were not held accountable. Memorializing these known and unknown victims reminds us to remain persistent and diligent in the pursuit of justice for all.

NAACP DeKalb Remembrance Coalition

The NAACP DeKalb Remembrance Coalition emerged from the efforts of the DeKalb County Branch of the NAACP. Under the leadership of Dee Smith, the NAACP DeKalb Remembrance Project chairperson, and Teresa Hardy, the NAACP DeKalb President, the coalition grew to include over 50 community members and supporting organizations, including the DeKalb History Center, Georgia State University, DeKalb Board of Education, the City of Lithonia, the Atlanta Jewish Community/Black Jewish Coalition, Compassionate Atlanta, Southern Truth and Reconciliation, Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta, Atlanta Shambhala, and the DeKalb Democratic Party.

In conjunction with the work of the coalition, EJI and the Decatur and Lithonia subcommittees of the NAACP DeKalb Remembrance Coalition launched a Racial Justice Essay Contest on February 1. Five winners and two honorable mentions were publicly announced on May 22 and awarded a total of $7,000 in scholarships. The winners were Maria Del Mar Castillo Carvajal (1st Place), Rachel Choi (2nd Place), Jayda Hudson (3rd Place), Niana Battle (4th Place), Mikhail Bracy (5th Place), and Sherifa Akinniyi and Joss Connally (Honorable Mention).

The DeKalb Remembrance Project also hosted a college essay contest for students who attend college and live in DeKalb County. Two college student winners were announced and each received a cash prize from the coalition.

Two additional historical markers are being planned: one in Lithonia and another in Druid Hills.

Originally posted by EJI on 2020-07-02 16:06:55

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