MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Three black men who were lynched on the square in downtown Springfield more than 100 years ago will soon be honored at a national memorial.
Fred Coker, Horace Duncan and William Allen will be among the thousands of names inscribed at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which is expected to open in April in Montgomery, Alabama.
The memorial, a project of the Equal Justice Initiative, is being created with the goal of increasing cultural recognition of racial terror lynching, according to a news release from the organization.
“(The Equal Justice Initiative) believes that there is a path to recovery and reconciliation when we tell the truth about our history in the public square,” the news release says.
The release says the memorial will consist of 800 columns – one for each county where a documented lynching occurred. Names of victims will be inscribed on the columns, and the columns will be suspended from above.
There will be duplicates of those 800 columns that different county officials will be asked to take back with them to display.
A 2015 report from the Equal Justice Initiative found that there were more than 4,000 lynchings of black people in the United States between 1877 and 1950.
The Springfield lynchings occurred in April 1906.
Duncan and Coker were falsely accused of robbery and rape, and a mob broke into the jail, dragged the men out to the square, hanged them and set them on fire.
The mob then went back to the jail and grabbed Allen, took him to the square, hanged him and set him on fire.
No one was convicted in connection with the lynchings.
In 1906, black people made up about 10 percent of Springfield’s population. In the aftermath of the lynchings, that number dropped to about 5 percent.
There is a plaque on the square in Springfield honoring the 1906 victims.
(Story shared by Springfield News-Leader. Read the original article here.)