The Jefferson County Memorial Project, a grassroots, citizen-led organization that focuses on uncovering and reconciling racial terror and racial violence that is a part of the county’s past, is in its second year of operation with no end in sight.
The coalition has continued its work with city committees to delve more deeply into local incidents and to make plans for memorials in their areas, with events to raise awareness, with a student essay contest and with a quilting project to illustrate the area’s past of racial violence through art. More academically inclined work also is continuing, and JCMP on Tuesday released a new report that built on last year’s work documenting Jefferson County’s lynching victims and describing the ways police, the media and businesses fed into the violence of the era. Read more.
The Jefferson County Memorial Project dedicated a historical marker in honor of lynching victims Tom Redmond and Jake McKenzie during a ceremony Monday night.
McKenzie was killed June 17, 1890, and Redmond was killed March 22, 1897, at the Brookside Mines, which were part of the Sloss-Sheffield Iron and Steel Co..
This is the first historical marker placed by JCMP, a grassroots coalition that has researched the stories behind 30 people who were lynched in Jefferson County between 1883 and 1940.
The goal of JCMP is to bring awareness of the victims of racial terror and their descendants, advocate for racial injustice reforms and place historical markers at lynching sites throughout Jefferson County. The group’s efforts are inspired by the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened in Montgomery in April 2018. The memorial is made up of monuments that represent 800 U.S. counties and are dedicated to African American victims of lynchings. Read more.
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 at 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. Read more.
Read BW’s earlier package on lynchings in Jefferson County and JCMP’s plans:
Students at colleges in the Birmingham area researched lynchings of 30 victims, including facts they found mostly in government documents and press reports, along with some of their impressions of the situations. Here are links to the victims’ stories.