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Sojourn to Past students to visit site of Ohio lynching

Sojourn to the Past to gather soil from Sandusky lynching

Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN ä Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past students will participate Saturday morning in soil gathering at the site of the Sept. 4, 1878, lynching of William Taylor in Sandusky.

The 10 a.m. program will begin at the gazebo in Washington Park followed by a short âwalk of reflectionã to the corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street in downtown Sandusky for the soil gathering.

Taylor, accused of killing a white woman, was arrested by the sheriff. While he was being transferred by the sheriff, a mob took him, put a noose around his neck, dragged him down the street to the corner of Columbus and Market and hanged him from a lamppost.

Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past initiated the soil gathering project and is partnering in the Sandusky Soil Collection Community Project with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala., the Sandusky NAACP and the Erie County Historical Society.

Participating Youngstown City School District students are Jenaya Conley, Youngstown Rayen Early College senior; KeáLynn Dean, Chaney senior; and 2019 YREC graduates Kira Walker and Brittany Bailey.

The soil collected will be sent to Montgomery, Ala., to be housed in the Legacy Museum, which is dedicated to raising awareness of the more than 4,000 individuals who were lynched in the United States. The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, dedicated to the legacy of people terrorized by lynching, opened to the public in April 2018.

In June 2018, Sojournás Penny Wells and Derrick McDowell visited the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, which opened under the leadership of Bryan Stevenson, director of the Equal Justice Initiative. The Legacy Museum âexplores slavery and segregation in horrific detail and argues that when segregation ended, mass incarceration began.ã

The memorial honors more than 4,000 individuals, who were lynched between 1877 and 1950. There are steel columns displaying the names of those lynched by county for those in the South and by states for those lynched in the North.

There are 15 names on the Ohio column. Inside the museum are large jars of dirt collected from sites where people were lynched, but there are no jars of dirt from Ohio lynching sites.

Wells took Sojourn students to visit the Legacy Museum and the memorial last April. Those students decided that they needed to initiate the gathering of dirt at lynching sites in Ohio to honor those who were lynched in this state.

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