Alachua County is hosting a Memorial Service for the Victims of Lynching in Alachua County on Friday, February 7, 2020, beginning at 6 p.m. at Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church (630 N.W. 2nd Street, Gainesville). The event is free and open to the public.
The Memorial Service includes prayers, reading of scriptures, a reading of victims’ names, a candlelight ceremony, singing, and remarks by family members and community leaders.
Research to date has confirmed that between 1867 and 1926, over 40 persons were lynched and killed here during acts of extrajudicial violence. (This means no court proceedings occurred if there were charges). These deceased victims were mostly black/African American, though three were white.
County marriage license records exist for some individuals, providing a glimpse into the human tragedies that lynching created. Families and the community were changed abruptly, and the violence created trauma and pain. This Memorial Service, organized as part of the Truth and Reconciliation process, is to acknowledge this pain and to testify that this will never happen again in our community.
On June 26, 2018, the Alachua County Commission began discussing a process for Truth and Reconciliation to recall the County’s history of racial injustice, and repair what they can. The process was prompted by research completed by the Alachua County Historical Commission (ACHC) in response to the national Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) lynching research.
EJI constructed a memorial structure at the center of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which is made up of over 800 corten steel monuments, one for each county in the United States where a racial terror lynching took place. The names of lynching victims are engraved on the monuments. EJI is inviting counties across the country to claim their monuments and install them in their permanent homes in the counties they represent.
For more information, contact Alachua County Communications and Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton at 352-374-5204 or firstname.lastname@example.org