Washington County Community Remembrance Project Venerates Local Victims From Lynching Era

A historical marker in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, provides educational and historical background, similar to that planned for a commemorative marker at Oaks Cemetery in Fayetteville.
Equal Justice Initiative

A historical marker in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, provides educational and historical background, similar to that planned for a commemorative marker at Oaks Cemetery in Fayetteville.

The Washington County Community Remembrance Project Coalition, a group of University of Arkansas and Fayetteville citizens committed to addressing painful themes in troubling racial history of our community, is working to educate and establish a memorial marker in the historic Oaks cemetery to venerate three victims of historic racial terror.

Project organizers include Dr. Valandra, associate professor in the School of Social Work with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies; Caree Banton, associate professor in the Department of History with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies; Niketa Reed, teaching assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media and African and African American Studies affiliate; and Katie Powell, associate director in the Honors College, who are all actively involved coalition members.

In the summer of 1856, three enslaved Black men — Aaron, Anthony and Randall — were executed in Washington County Arkansas, near Fayetteville. The three had been accused of murdering a prominent, slave-holding white man. After being released by the court, Aaron and Anthony were lynched by a mob of ordinary white citizens on July 7, and Randall's hanging a month later was a state-sponsored lynching after he received a guilty verdict based only on hearsay evidence.

Project organizers have chosen July 7, the date Aaron and Anthony were executed, to launch a website that provides information about events related to their lynching, details about the Remembrance Project, resources for learning, and an opportunity to reflect on our community's history of racial terror and its legacy.

For more information, visit the site at washingtoncountyremembers.org.

The Washington County Community Remembrance Project operates in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, the organization that has established the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery Alabama. Washington County was chosen, along with other communities across the country, for the national Community Remembrance Project initiative to formally memorialize historic victims of racial terror in our region.

The Equal Justice Initiative is providing guidance and support for the three main components of the Washington County Project which include the fabrication and installation of the marker, a community engagement event to dedicate the marker, and a scholarship opportunity for high school students who participate in a racial justice essay contest. The website will be updated to provide information about these project components. If you are interested in more information, please email at wccrproject@gmail.com or contact Dr. Valandra at valandra@uark.edu.

Contacts

Niketa Reed, teaching assistant professor
School of Journalism and Strategic Media
479-575-4760, nsreed@uark.edu

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