Lynching Memorial-The Orlando Times
July Perry Plus 30 Other Victims Recognized At Lynching Memorial In Montgomery, Ala.
Photo Cutline: Francina Boykin, Member of EJI Taskforce
BY FRANCINA BOYKIN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
MONTGOMERY, AL. - EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE, Montgomery, Ala., hosted a conference and grand opening of "The Legacy Museum" and "The National Memorial for Peace and Justice", on April 26 and 27th, thousands of civil rights activists, community and national leaders, grassroots organizers and scholars converged at the conference center in downtown to hear panelists discuss everything from enslavement to mass incarceration and punishment in America and environmental injustice. There was also a concert featuring a host of famous entertainers including Stevie Wonder.
Members from Orange County's EJI Taskforce traveled to Montgomery to witness the historical events as well as Lynching Memorial honoring victims of Ocoee Massacre of 1920, where Black citizens attempted to vote and their entire community was decimated by a white mob, burning 25 houses, 2 churches, a school and masonic lodges. July Perry, a prosperous land owner and labor broker was taken from Ocoee after two white men were killed on his property to Orange County Jail where a lynch mob then removed him and hung him in the vicinity of where Judge John Cheney who was seeking a U.S. Senate seat at the time lived, warning him about registering Black people to vote. It was not known where July Perry was buried until Democracy Forum a local grassroots organization discovered his final resting place at Greenwood Cemetery in late 1990s.
The National Memorial For Peace and Justice has inscribed on a 4 feet rectangular shape steel box the names of July Perry and Arthur Henry, plus 30 unknown victims who died on 11/03/1920, the day after election. There are thousands of counties with victims of lynchings at the memorial site and each county is being given the opportunity to claim the steel boxes bearing names of victims from their community.
The Legacy Museum has a way of bringing its visitors to tears, it is sobering and leaves one with thoughts of what can I do for justice to honor the lives and sacrifices made by many who were slaughtered, tortured, hung, shot and beaten for no reason.