One of the most sensitive issues of America’s past is the more than 4,000 terror lynchings that ended Black lives between 1887 and 1950.
In 1892 one lynching took place a few yards from the Kent County Courthouse on Cross Street: James Taylor. Like all victims of lynching, Taylor did not receive his day in court.
During Tuesday night town council meeting, Larry Wilson and Phil Dutton, co-chairs of the James Taylor Justice Coalition of Sumner Hall presented a slide show of the group’s plans to memorialize the dark chapter in Kent County’s history.
“We believe that acknowledging the unvarnished truth about the legacy of slavery is fundamental to unifying our community in peace and harmony, enabling us to work together to address the ongoing challenge of present-day racism,” Wilson recited from the Coalition’s mission statement.
Dutton explained that The James Taylor Coalition is partnered with the Community Remembrance Project of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.
EJI, a prominent prison reform and racial justice organization, works in tandem with communities to “memorialize documented victims of racial violence and foster meaningful dialogue about race and justice.”
To that end, EJI created The Community Soil Collection Project, wherein soil from the sites of documented lynchings is sent to Montgomery and displayed in marked jars in their museum. Soil from the Chestertown site will find a place there.
Dutton sees the James Taylor Justice Coalition as a pathway for the community to process its racist past and, through education, help the community evolve into a better understanding of racial injustice and the steps needed to rise above it.
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