Anniversary of 1896 Columbus Lynching

Yesterday marks the 119th anniversary of the gruesome lynching of two African-American men, Jesse Slayton and William Miles, by an angry white mob at the corner of 11th and Broadway. Both men were accused of rape, but were dragged by angry mobs, hung from a tree at the corner and shot repeatedly with gunfire. No one was ever found guilty of the alleged rapes, and no one was ever held accountable for the lynchings.

Yesterday, several community activists, including members of the Columbus Black History Museum and Archives and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia, placed two wreaths and a blow-up of the postcard photo of the lynching at the approximate spot of the murders. More from the Ledger-Enquirer:

Dave Gillarm, grand historian for the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia, said the wreaths were standing at the very spot where Jesse Slayton and Will Miles were killed. Also erected at the site was a photo from the 1896 event. It shows the two men’s bodies dangling from a tree at the intersection, surrounded by a predominantly white crowd. One white man is perched in the tree, holding up Mile’s head.

“This picture was actually a postcard,” Gillarm said. “And this picture, this postcard, was circulated to show the public that we do not care about black lives. ‘We had no trouble doing this with them. And we’ll have no trouble doing this with you all.’ And that was to instill fear into the black community.”

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