JASPER, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Relatives have dedicated a bench to honor a black man who was chained to a pickup and dragged to his death in East Texas 20 years ago.
James Byrd Jr. was 49 on June 7, 1998, when he was killed by three white men in Jasper, Texas. During the trials of the three, prosecutors detailed how the men drove Byrd to an isolated spot in Jasper County, beat him, took a logging chain, that was hooked on a pickup, and tied it to his body. The men then dragged Byrd to his death, leaving parts of his decapitated and dismembered body strewn about the roadway.
The Beaumont Enterprise reports that Byrd’s family gathered at the Jasper County Courthouse to memorialize him with the bench, then spent the day in a park named after him.
Byrd’s daughter, Renee Byrd Mullins, says she hopes to remind the community that “hate is a learned response.”
The bench outside the courthouse where two of the men were convicted in Byrd’s killing is engraved with the words, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)