Here is the latest news from the counties.
If there is no information below for your county and you are interested in joining or forming a community coalition there, please write us here:
June 7, 2019
The AACO Connecting the Dots: Remembrance and Reconciliation Project is pleased to announce that the unveiling ceremony for the first Maryland-based EJI Historical Marker will occur on September 7, 2019. Please mark your calendars for the ceremony that is slated to be held at 10am on Calvert Street in Annapolis, MD. The location is across from the Arundel Center, the former location of the jail where Henry Davis was abducted by a white mob bent 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.
The marker ceremony will also be the awards ceremony for the Essay Scholarship contest that the Coalition is organizing. The scholarship awardee(s) will be eligible for prizes totaling at least $5000 awarded by the EJI. For more information about the essay contest in Anne Arundel County please contact local organizer, Connecting the Dots, point of contact: Linda Girdner at email@example.com or Gabrielle Daniels, EJI Essay Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AACounty Coalition is working on efforts to bring ongoing education by developing a proposal for the funding of our education center. Our next meeting will address this need in further detail. If you are interested in joining our discussions and are willing to volunteer time in developing this project please email: email@example.com for more information.
April 7, 2019
CTD Remembrance and Reconciliation Project Anne Arundel County proudly held 2 important events in our community. In December, a Remembrance of Henry Davis who was brutalized and lynched in Annapolis was presented to almost 100 attendees. In February, our coalition organized screenings of BURN: The Lynching of George Armwood, An Outrage and an EJI animated film Slavery to Mass Incarceration. The films were followed by a panel discussion. The event was held at Maryland Hall and attended by over 300 people.
Honored to be approved by EJI, our coalition is working together to bring an historical marker and memorial to Anne Arundel County. Negotiations for the placement of the marker are in progress. The members of the Coalition met with Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and County Councilwoman Lisa Rodvien who whole heartedly support the initiative. In addition, letters requesting meetings with additional Council members were sent and are awaiting responses. A recent meeting with Annapolis Mayor Buckley also generated full support to the efforts of reconciliation and remembrance.
Once a location for the marker is determined, there will be an EJI essay/scholarship opportunity for AA County public school students and a ceremony for unveiling of the marker. At this time exact dates are TBD and will be announced as soon as possible. We are also working on our future plans to open an education center to teach about the history and present of racism. Please feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among the first activities undertaken by the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project last year was a soil collection at the old Baltimore County jail in Towson, site of the 1885 lynching of Howard Cooper.
One of those in attendance, public historian Jenny Liles, was moved by the occasion to investigate the case on her own. She provided this brief account of what she's discovered in a recent newsletter:
“Following the soil collection ceremony I felt determined to locate the mother and learn more about Howard Cooper's family history. No article on his case gave a detailed description of his family or identified any family members by name. The few accounts which quoted or spoke of his mother only made reference to her as "his mother." Her name was never mentioned.
“My initial research uncovered an 1870 census record which listed Howard with his mother (Henrietta), his twin brother (Henry), an aunt (Celesta) and his grandparents (David and Louisa Davis). That census recorded the twins' age as only 6 months old, meaning Howard Cooper could not have been older than 15 years at the time of his murder.
“According to the record, the family lived in Towsontowne (9th district) and worked as farm hands and domestic servants. This initial discovery gave me the clues I needed to continue to research Cooper's family and life before and after his lynching on July 13, 1885.
“More recently I have discovered a marriage certificate, court records and have even located, and have spoken to, living relatives of Howard Cooper. A more detailed account of this research will be published soon on the MD Lynching Memorial Project website.”
A meeting to organize an effort to install an historical marker to memorialize Cooper’s lynching will be held soon. If you are interested in attending, please contact us:
See Harford County notes
May 9, 2019 Meeting Notes
There were fourteen individuals present at this second meeting held on May 9, 2019. We began the meeting with introductions from those present.
Present: Inez Tyson, Betty Willard, Jim Thornton, Jennie Towner, Jennie Jakulin, Blaine Keener, Julie Craft, Sharoll love, Will Schwarz, Iris Barnes, Andrew Austing, Kimberly Austing, Mike Dixon, Jon Carpenter
We began a discussion of the process/journey toward getting a marker(s) for the Harford County Victims using the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) Guidelines. The group also brainstormed some ideas they felt were relevant for Harford County.
Committee wanted to ensure that we have involvement of local officials to include County Council members, Mayors, and the representation from the County Executive Office.
We viewed the film about the Abbeville remembrance project to get a sense of what a program would look like.
We decided on some subcommittees and individuals volunteered for areas to focus their attention. See the following:
o Research (Background and Oral History, Descendant Identification) - Andy Austing, Julie Craft, Sharoll Love, Lisa Tuzo, Iris Barnes
o Ceremony Planning (soil and marker) - Jenny Jakulin, Blaine Keener, Inez Tyson, Betty Willard
o Permits & Legal requirements - Kimberly Austing
o Community Engagement and Outreach - Julie Craft
o School Engagement and Outreach - Andy Austing, Jennie Towner (HCC),
o Government engagement and buy-in - Kimberly Austing
o Educational and Media materials - Andy Austing, Jennie Towner (HCC), Iris Barnes
o Public Relations & Communications - Iris Barnes
Next meeting Dates:
Here are all of the dates, up to the end of the year, to add to your calendars:
June 20, July 18, August 15, September 19, October 17, November 21, December 19.
6:00 to 8:00 pm in the Student Center, room SC 243.
All meetings are in the same location, EXCEPT for the August 15 meeting, which will be held in Student Center room SC 113.
Tasks Leading towards the Remembrance Project
Research about the victims and the circumstances of the lynchings
Research on the families of the victims,identify and locate descendants
Crafting the Marker Language based on EJI and local historical Society review and local process for marker approvals.
Identify sites for future markers and Securing proper permissions and permits for marker sites
Planning the Historical Marker Dedication and Unveiling Ceremony
Facilitating the historical marker project affiliated High School Racial Justice Essay Competition and other youth involvement projects
March 27, 2019 Meeting Notes (courtesy of Dr. Teisha Wilson)
Welcome given by Dr. Iris Leigh Barnes Names of the Harford County lynching victims were read by members of the committee, followed by a moment of silence
Dr. Barnes discussed the inspiration behind this effort and referenced Equal Justice Initiative community remembrance projects and the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project Conference that was held in October of 2018 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture
Dr. Stephanie A. Hallock, Professor of Political Science at Harford Co. Community College, discussed why this work matters and highlighted a number of reasons why we must address Harford Co.’s lynching past. Dr. Hallock discussed how the criminal justice system is rooted in the legacy of lynching, how federal government failed to protect civil liberties, structural poverty, racial stereotyping and institutionalized racial injustice.
Mr. Will Schwarz provided background on lynchings in Maryland and discussed how and why the MD Lynching Memorial Project was created. Mr. Schwarz showed two films including, BURN: The Lynching of George Armwood and EJI’s film Abbeville.
Dr. Michael Dixon gave a presentation on the lynchings that occurred in Cecil County, Maryland, which the committee has agreed to include in this project.
Committee members, Mr. Christopher Providence and Dr. Lisa Tuzo, led a discussion on lynchings and invited meeting attendees to give their feedback on what they learned at the program. Mr. Providence and Dr. Tuzo also solicited thoughts and ideas from the audience on how to move forward with this project. Ideas from the attendees included: 1) a need for more research on Harford County lynchings, 2) the need for more education on this topic, searching for information on unknown victims, 3) recognizing the anti-lynching efforts of Ida B. Wells, 4) developing a forum regarding lynching and trying to solicit the participation of diverse groups, 5) addressing why lynching history is not taught in Maryland schools, 6) the importance of humanizing the victims, 7) recognizing the impact that lynching had on the criminal justice system, 8) reconciliation, 9) enrolling the county government in this initiative, 10) the collecting of oral history, 11) soil collection at lynching sites, and 12) a possible “field trip” to EJI in Montgomery, AL.
Dr. Dianna G. Phillips, President of Harford County Community College, offered remarks and stated that the Harford County Committee had the full support of the college.
Dr. Barnes and Mr. Schwarz gave closing remarks and informed the attendees that they would receive an email with information regarding the date and time for the committee’s next public meeting. They offered “thank yous” and encouraged everyone to take the literature that was provided by EJI.
If you are interested in attending the next meeting of the Harford County Committee, please contact us.
Plans are underway to hold an organizational meeting in Howard County. If you’d like to be notified when details are available, please contact us:
Following an initial organizational meeting in December, and months of work, the Montgomery County coalition under the leadership of historian Tony Cohen is preparing to submit a proposal to EJI for the purpose of holding soil collection ceremonies at the sites of the three known lynchings to have been committed in the county. In January, the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a resolution, proposed by Councilmember Hans Reimer, to establish a Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission. The Director of the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, Jim Stowe, is leading that effort for the county.
Here is a feature about the creation of the Montgomery County Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj3xbFZYpvk
Here is a feature about Tony Cohen’s presentation on the January 1880 lynching of Jim Peck in Poolesville: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwpI9PcfbxU&feature=youtu.be
If you’d like to join the Montgomery County group, write to Laurel Hoa at: email@example.com and ask to have your email address added to the list serve.
June 1, 2019 Meeting Notes
Rev. Nathan Hill gave a short welcome, quoting Canadian political scholar George Erasmus - “Where common memory is lacking, where people do not share in the same past, there can be no real community. Where community is to be formed, common memory must be created.”
The minutes were approved from our last meeting with unanimous consent.
Not everyone is receiving the email announcements. We will encourage those not receiving communication to write to Candice Hollingsworth and Will Schwarz to be placed on the list or receive instructions for doing so.
Per the previous meeting and the encouragement to be aware and explore Maryland’s history of lynchings, near or attempted lynchings, and violence against indigenous communities, the question was raised how to narrow and focus the work of this committee. How does the mission of Equal Justice Initiative shape this project? What do we do when new information is provided? This question is tabled for future discussion and feedback. The conversation stressed the importance of being to open stories and memories about events not already recorded.
There is excitement to get started on researching the known extrajudicial killings, how to work with the county to hold remembrances, and what it will take to erect markers on identified sites.
Kyla Hanington (Human Relations Committee) stresses the value of this project being community led.
Kyla (above) reported on making connections with council members offices, but the work is ongoing. Councilmember Danielle Glaros is aware and supportive.
Anita Brown followed up on the need for trauma training and resources and has a name for a person in Washington County who is willing to develop some trauma resources.
With the Juneteenth festival coming up, this event needs more volunteers to work the table during this time. Please see the signup genius link. Kay Stephens followed up with Dennis to confirm that a table is reserved. Volunteers will pass out information from the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project and Equal Justice Initiative, picking up materials from Will Schwarz. What do volunteers need to do if someone offers information? Do we have ethnographic guidelines to have permission to record information? Does Maryland Lynching Memorial Project have consent forms to record information? Plans to follow up with Will.
Can we show a video at our booth at the Juneteenth festival?
Discussion visited the need to find a common place to begin and connect the threads of the past to present realities. The memorial in Alabama approaches this with a theme of “From Racial Terror to Mass Incarceration”. We expressed the power of being given permission to share stories that have been dismissed. Be ready and willing to create a space for those stories to be shared.
If people share stories about events outside of Maryland, direct them to Equal Justice Initiative.
Gabriel encouraged us to find ways to include young adults and youth in this conversation. Can we show up to where the community is already gathered, like the PG County African American Museum and Cultural Center? How can we develop a social media strategy for those families who may have memories and information and no longer live in Maryland?
We spent a significant time talking about meeting time and location. Are Saturday mornings the best time? We recognized a smaller crowd, some of which was due to graduation, family emergencies, and other conflicts. We might consider having our next meeting near Upper Marlboro at a local library or another church. Rev. Nathan will connect with other pastors on June 6 about possible locations.
Suggested next meeting times: Saturday, July 13 or Sunday, July 14
April 28, 2019 Meeting Notes
Welcome and Introductions
Attendees were invited to make an introduction and share their reason(s) for being involved and interest in the work of the committee. A moment of remembrance was held for the five known victims in Prince George’s County.
Approval of the Minutes
The minutes approved by unanimous consent.
Report from Maryland Lynching Memorial Project
Report from Will Schwarz, President of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project (MLMP). The State of Maryland passed historic bill HB 307, Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first one in the US. The State will set up a commission to investigate documented lynchings as cold case murders.
The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) has documented lynchings in 15 Maryland counties, but research by Dr. Nicholas Creary (formerly of Bowie State) and his students found lynchings in 18 counties. The MD Lynching Memorial Project is now working with groups in 9 counties on community remembrance projects to acknowledge this history. Montgomery County has its own Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission. Anne Arundel County has been approved for a historical marker and will have an event in late June with date not yet determined.
In Baltimore, April 27 the play, Janet Langhart Cohen’s Anne and Emmett, was performed. A panel discussion was held in conjunction with the play and both were a success.
In the fall, MLMP will be hosting its second “Lynching in Maryland” conference at a site TBA. It will feature a work session for local groups/committees to share ideas and best practices.
Historian Jenny Liles ,of Baltimore County, has offered to help teach community members how to research history of people who were lynched.
MD LMPs primary objectives are to a) research and document racial terror lynchings, b) acknowledge them publicly and c) honor and dignify the lives of the victims. They plan to do this through soil collections at sites were lynchings occurred, placing historic markers at those sites, and by helping jurisdictions reclaim the memorial columns located at The National Memorial for Peace and Justice (Montgomery, AL) and installing them in a prominent location.
The group developed the following working mission statement to guide this committee’s work:
The Prince George’s County Committee of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project will design programming to educate the public and ourselves on racial terror lynchings and other acts of injustice that occurred in Prince George’s County from the County’s founding in 1696 to present day. Through this programming, the committee will create unique experiences that evoke emotion and inspire meaningful conversation that aims to uncover our truths and lead to reconciliation and community transformation.
Attendees were invited to help develop a list of partners and resources across three defined domains (research, county-wide ownership and buy-in, programming and experiences) to invite as active participants and partners of the Committee.
Omar Eaton-Martinez (attendee and Assistant Division Chief, Historical Resources for Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation for Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission) said it is important to offer educational programs that are mindful and responsible for today. Dennis offered the Human Libraryinteractive event at Maryland Day (University of Maryland) where participants write a piece about their personal experience and other participants sign up to hear the story as an example of such programming. This is a participatory library as an event with rules of engagement. People read their “book” in this public program.
History Day in MD is a statewide event. Monica Whippo is involved with this and Will is working with her. Two or three representative from each county government are involved. The EJI protocol is on the website for review.
The Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA) has and is developing a narrative about slavery in the county. Some incorporated towns may have money for efforts but unincorporated areas do not have funding.
Dennis Doster (attendee and Black History Program Manager for Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation at M-NCPPC) is working on some of these projects.
Omar said that with Truth and Reconciliation Commissions there is often the expectation of reparations. Dennis spoke about how the history of our county is different than the history of Alabama or Mississippi and we need to shape our work within the county’s historical context.
Susan Pearl, Prince George’s Historical Society
Chris Haley, Director of MD Historical Archives
Jenni Lyles, Educator
University of Maryland
Bowie State University
Prince George’s County Community College
Sandra Rose, Prince George’s County Public Schools
African-American Genealogical groups
Town of Upper Marlboro Historical Commission
Countywide Ownership and Buy-In
We want to have a countywide ownership of the initiative with the awareness of the outer-/inner-Beltway divide. The county is large and we will make efforts to get the southern part of the county at the table. Omar and Dennis live in the northern part of the county but represent the whole county in their work.
When we talk about racial lynchings issues of Native American history and identity is a complicated factor. How people identify is important to be aware of as we go forward. We were encouraged to be aware of and expand our acknowledgement of racial lynchings to people who did not identify as African-American, but possibly Native American/American Indian. There are many different aspects looking at our history and lynching, racial violence, complicity of local governments, actions by police and other topics.
Community Engagement Officers for each Prince George’s County Council Member
Cultivate a County Council Champion
Cultivate a Champion in the County Executive’s Office
Bowie State University
University of Maryland
African-American preservation group
Monica Montgomery, Executive Director of Prince George’s County African-American Museum and Cultural Center
Chanel Compton, Executive Director of Banneker-Douglass Museum
Association for the Study of African American Life and History
Dorothy Bailey, Civic Leader
Mayors and Council Members of Incorporated Municipalities
Anacostia Trails Heritage Area
Afro-Indigenous Community Groups in Prince George’s County
Programming and Creation of Experiences
The arts community will be a great partner for designing events and experiences that bring our work to life and spark conversation.
Ally Theater Company
Oral History Collection Clearing House
David Driskell Center
Mapping Racism Project
Attendees shared upcoming events that may be of interest to the group.
June 3rd– August 9th
Reckoning with the “Incident”: John Wilson’s Studies for a Lynching Mural, David Driskell Center, University of Maryland
June 15th, Noon-5pm
Juneteenth Festival, Watkins Park
Dennis will send a list of outreach addresses to Candace. Candace will send introductory notes to these people and organizations and seek additional names of people to contact and invite.
Nathan has an upcoming meeting with county area churches and will discuss our efforts.
Kyla will reach out to each County Council person’s community engagement officer.
Dennis is in charge of the Juneteenth Festival and will sign the committee up for a table. Will can provide literature and a table display that we can use. Leeann and Anita offered to help staff the table at the festival. Candace will send a Doodle poll to solicit volunteers to staff a table of the festival on behalf of the committee.
Dennis will reach out to Dorit Yanon, Deputy Director of the Driskell Center about the upcoming exhibit.
Will S. will inform the group of the date of the Anne Arundel County program, anticipated to be the last week of June.
Leeann suggested that we send a contingent and perhaps organize a carpool to the event.
Candace will talk to Will about the website and use for the committee.
The committee decided to schedule meetings on an individual basis to account for local events, holidays, etc. Dennis cautioned the group on Sunday meetings as it potentially undermines African-American participation.
It was recommended that the committee discuss subcommittees at the next meeting.
The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday June 1st at 10am. The meeting will be held at University Christian Church, 6800 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville, MD.
For more information, please email the Prince George’s Committee here: firstname.lastname@example.org
March 24, 2019 Meeting Notes (courtesy of Leeann Irwin)
Over 35 people met at University Christian Church, Hyattsville, Maryland to begin forming a County wide Maryland Lynching Memorial Project. Rev. Nathan Hill was the host with Will Schwarz giving some history of the state wide effort and updating the participants with news of what other counties are doing and have done. Two powerful films were viewed: BURN: The Lynching of George Armwood by Will Schwarz and Abbeville, a film from the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI).
Some basic facts about the five documented lynchings in Prince George’s County were presented. Discussion continued with some explanations of the resources and community remembrance project protocols of EJI. Many issues were raised including the need to have trauma experts on hand for ongoing support, the importance of including reconciliation in our work and what ways to do outreach and publicity. Brief reports of local Hyattsville history and current efforts on topics of racism and deed issues were presented. Members of the Montgomery County and Harford County efforts spoke about some of the work their groups are currently doing.
The Wicomico Truth and Reconciliation Initiative (WTRI) is a grassroots coalition of community members who are dedicated to addressing Wicomico County's history of racial violence and promoting community engagement and healing.
The work leading up to the founding of this initiative started in 2016, with members of the former group Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Delmarva and Fenix Youth Project Inc holding a candlelight vigil for the memory of Matthew Williams.
This led to the fall of 2017 where our community took part in a soil collection for the 7 victims of both Wicomico and Somerset counties through the Equal Justice Initiative Community Remembrance Project:
With the official launch of the WTRI, we have focused on slowly but steadily educating and calling community members and groups into the work of “Telling The Truth”. Meetings with the Salisbury City Human Rights Advisory Committee as well as local NAACP branch 7028 have led to the beginnings of coalition building, though there is much farther to go, especially in the work of drawing the connections between these historical racial terror lynchings and the present day.
Facebook and Instagram: @TellTheTruthWicomico