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Amid Civil Discontent, Tallahassee City Commission To Explore 'Remembrance Project'

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, opening in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday, is dedicated to victims of lynching.
Lynsey Weatherspoon for NPR
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, opening in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday, is dedicated to victims of lynching.

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey says now is the time for the city commission to get involved with the Community Remembrance Project. The project would bring a lynching memorial to Tallahassee. According to organizers, there were at least four known lynchings in the city between 1897 and 1937.

“It is a nation-wide movement. It’s really cool. It’s really brought many people from all walks of life in this community together specifically, for it," Dailey said during the commission's recent meeting.

The project has been in the works for a while now but is gaining more attention in light of recent protests against police brutality. The goal is to bring a replica of the memorials from the lynching museum in Alabama to Tallahassee. A potential site or the memorial is Cascades park, where the old jail and the so-called lynching tree are. There are still questions regarding whether that tree was the actual site.

While there are only four confirmed cases of lynchings in Leon County,, some believe the number is far higher.

"As said in the meeting, it’s a whole lot more than four. Because my father who--we lived out on the northeast part of town--he showed us a tree where he was familiar with lynching’s," Jefferson said. "And other people that I have known in the community have identified other areas where lynchings were," said local resident Gloria Jefferson during a January 2019 meeting of the Remembrance Project task force.

The Remembrance Project of Tallahassee is partnering with the Equal Justice Institute out of Alabama—the organization behind that state’s lynching memorial. The city commission will get a presentation on the project at its July 8th meeting.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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