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Lynching Marker to be Dedicated Saturday on the Oxford Square

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor

alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

A memorial plaque dedicated to the seven known victims of lynching in Lafayette County has stood on the lawn of the Lafayette County Courthouse since it was placed during a small ceremony in the fall.

On a rainy afternoon in September, members of the Lynching Memorialization in Lafayette County Project Committee and a handful of others gathered to place the large marker on the east side of the Courthouse.

Due to COVID-19’s surge in the late summer and early fall, the committee held off on doing a more involved and larger-scaled event and opted for the small event in September until a bigger event could be done safely.

That time has come.

The dedication of the marker will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday on the downtown Square in Oxford.

The marker honors the memories of the local lynching victims and is part of the work being conducted by the members of the Lafayette Community Remembrance Project.

Participants in the ceremony will include representatives of the Lafayette Community Remembrance Project, The Alluvial Collective (formerly the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation), Equal Justice Initiative, Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, descendants of local lynching victims, the UM Gospel Choir, and other local leaders and performers.

At the conclusion of the ceremony on the Square, a processional of family members to the marker on the east side of the courthouse lawn will take place for the blessing of the marker.

At 5 p.m. on Saturday, following the conclusion of the marker dedication on the Square, the dedication of a bench honoring the memory of Rev. E.W. Higginbottom will take place at the bench located at the Old Armory Pavilion at the corner of Bramlett and University Avenue.

Don Cole, a retired professor and administrator from the University of Mississippi, said the placing of the maker in September was a solemn occasion of mixed emotions.

“This plaque is a dedication and memorial to those whose lives are reflected and their incomprehensible, brutal and violent end, and for reasons we’re not able to fully comprehend,” he said during the September event.

The LCRP is a broad-based coalition of community members in Lafayette County that believes that publicly remembering these lynching victims and the circumstances of their deaths is an important step in transforming racial injustice into healing for the LOU community.

One side of the marker lists six of the men who were lynched in Lafayette County and the details surrounding the lynchings: Harris Tunstal, killed July 12, 1885; William McGregory killed Nov. 13, 1890; “unknown victim” killed Sept. 2, 1891; William Steen killed July 30, 1893; William Chandler killed June 19, 1895; Lawson Patton killed Sept. 8, 1908.

The other side of the marker speaks on lynchings in the United States and the history of Higginbottom’s death, who was killed on Sept. 17, 1935, at the age of 28 while he was being held in the Oxford jail for the murder of landowner Glen Roberts.

The marker is paid for by the Equal Justice Initiative.

The work of the LCRP is being done as part of the “Community Remembrance Project,” which is a national lynching memorialization effort launched by the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.


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