DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The Equal Justice Initiative, a Montgomery, Alabama-based civil rights organization, released a report Tuesday documenting the history of lynchings and racial terror acts in America.
After five years of study, the group documented nearly 4,000 lynchings that occurred from 1877 through 1950.
State-by-state specifics will be released in the coming months, a spokesperson said, but the summary released Tuesday in the New York Times, cast a spotlight specifically on lynchings in Dallas’ past.
In 1910, a mob pulled Allen Brooks, a black man, from the custody of deputies at the Dallas County Courthouse. Brooks was thrown out a second story window and hung from an arch over Main Street.
Twenty-one years earlier, in 1889, W.R. Taylor was hung from a tree in the Trinity River bottom – the site is called Martyrs Park today.
The Equal Justice Initiative also wants to see markers placed at the locations where the lynchings happened, so this history – however dark – is acknowledged and remembered.
That includes 376 sites of lynchings in the state of Texas alone.
Right now the markers are only an idea – and the Equal Justice Initiative acknowledges it may face pushback from property owners who would not want such a visible reminder of racial violence.
“You would not expect it,” said Stephanie Dallas, who visited downtown Dallas today.
“It’s a bad part of history – but it did happen,” said Talesha Burnley, who works downtown.
Inside the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture – the site of the old courthouse – Executive Director Zac Harmon says he can understand the spirit of the push for markers.
“It’s a real ugly side of history that shouldn’t be buried,” said Harmon.
Harmon grew up in the civil rights era – a few homes down the street from Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi.
Harmon says as an African American, he is still healing from the injustices he’s lived through. For him, placing a marker at the site of a lynching would not help that pain.
“It really would be like stop signs, because you’d have to have so many,” said Harmon. “If funds are going to be raised and money invested, let’s invest it on things that are going to move us forward as a community right now.”
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