When I read “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century” by Sherilynn Ifill about lynching in the 1930s on the Eastern Shore, my eyes were opened to a brutal history of racial terror and its long-lasting impact on the African-American community. Ever since, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get beyond words and take action to bring attention and reconciliation to this history.
I had the same reaction when I read “Just Mercy, A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights lawyer who represented prisoners on death row in the South whose trials and sentencing were fraught with corruption and racism. Stevenson founded the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, the first national memorial acknowledging the victims of racial terror lynchings.
This Saturday, Sept. 7, Stevenson’s organization, Equal Justice Initiative, will join with Anne Arundel County Connecting the Dots: Remembrance and Reconciliation Project to unveil the first historical marker in Maryland marking a lynching site. The ceremony will take place on Calvert Street across from the Arundel Center, the former site of the jail from which Henry Davis was abducted by a white mob intent on lynching him after marching him through predominantly black communities in an act of terror. This ceremony will mark the acts of racial terrorism and our continued mission to remember and reconcile. At least 40 people were lynched in Maryland between 1875 and 1933.
Parking is available in the Whitmore Garage at 37 Clay St. Consider bringing a lawn chair if you will require seating during the ceremony.
Following the dedication, Connecting the Dots and its partners have invited the public to discuss the topic: “Who are we and where are we going as a nation?” All are welcome. Discussions will be facilitated by members of Coming to the Table groups from Annapolis, Baltimore, Harford County and Montgomery County and The Conversation Starters. The talks are open to the public and will be held at the Asbury United Methodist Church, 87 West St., Annapolis