ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA)–The Anderson Area Remembrance and Reconciliation Initiative is working to remember and memorialize five people who were lynched in Anderson County.
The group is working with the Equal Justice Initiative, (EJI) to tackle the project.
“We have identified five victims who were lynched between 1894 and 1911. There’s Ed Sullivan, from Williamston. There’s John Laddison, from Rock Mill Township. There’s Reuben Elrod, from Piedmont. There’s Elbert Harris, from Iva. And there’s Willis Jackson, from Honea Path,” said Stuart Sprague, Organizer, of the Anderson Area Remembrance and Reconciliation Initiative. “And all of these were incidents that were recorded in newspapers at the time, and we have done research and we’ve been able to find who these victims were.”
The Anderson Area Remembrance and Reconciliation Initiative would like to create new spaces, markers and memorials that will address the legacy of racial terror and lynching.
“We’re looking to have some memorial events that will include soil collections near the sites of these lynching’s. And perhaps a historical marker, but that’s secondary really to the conversation,” Sprague said.
“Conversations about reconciliation,” said Dr. Ankoma Anderson, Steering Committee Co-Chair for the Anderson Area Remembrance and Reconciliation Initiative. “I think that, by us having these types of conversations, we actually acknowledge what has taken place, so that we can sit down together. Talk about our diversity. Talk about our differences and then being able to move forward,” Anderson said.
Anderson is an area pastor, who hopes that all people can fully understand the racial terror of the past, as he believes it’s crucial in today’s climate.
“We’re hoping that the individuals when they understand and see what’s going on with these stories, that maybe we can begin to understand what’s happening today in our culture,” Anderson said.
“Some of the issues that we deal with today, are the result of unresolved issues that are bubbling up at this point,” Anderson said.
The group hopes this project is the start of people coming together to educate one another.
“We’ll have sort of a mini soil collection for Anderson County once we’re done. And we hope to use it as a traveling display to schools, churches, whoever would be interested in seeing that. And then eventually find a permanent place to put that display,” Sprague said.
Right now, the group is still working on plans to see how and where those victims will be remembered. They are also working to find the families of the victims, so they can be a part of the effort.
“It could take months to years. In fact, it’s an ongoing conversation. Our hope is, that it won’t stop. That the conversations will continue even after we have had all of the ceremonies,” Sprague said.
Both Anderson City and Anderson County voted in favor of a resolution to support the effort.
For more information or to join the effort, contact the Initiative Steering Committee at email@example.com.