JCMP Dedicating Its First Lynching Markers

The Jefferson County Memorial Project will be dedicating its first historical marker in honor of two men killed in the 1890s. Both Jake McKenzie and Tom Redmond worked at mines owned by the Sloss-Sheffield Iron and Steel Company. The memorial being held Monday, 6 p.m. at Sloss Furnaces, also will remember the system of convict leasing on which the JCMP has sponsored community discussions this summer.

Before the dedication, the JCMP is holding a discussion on the film “Slavery by Another Name” Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center.

On Saturday, it held a community conversation on the criminal justice system and launched the Incarcerated Voices Blog, which contains writings by Donaldson Correctional Facility inmates who have been working with the JCMP for the past year.

The JCMP is a citizen-led cooperative working to spark conversation about the county’s history of racial violence. The project was sparked by the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened in Montgomery last year.

BirminghamWatch produced a package of stories on the JCMP and a report it issued this year, “Jefferson County’s 30 Residents,” which tells the stories of the 30 people lynched in the county between 1883 and 1940. BW’s package also told the stories of how the students who researched the stories of those lynchings were affected by what they learned.

John Chandler was killed in a mob near what is now the Bright Star restaurant in Bessemer. (Source: Michael Clemmer)

“This Report Will Be Hard to Read:” Jefferson County Memorial Project Puts the Spotlight on Lynchings, and There’s More to Come. A collection of stories on the project from BW