Community honors lynching victim George Smith at memorial ceremony
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Community members were invited to participate in a ceremony Friday honoring a man who was lynched in Omaha nearly 130 years ago.
In 1891, George Smith, also known as “Joe Coe,” was seized from the jail inside the courthouse by a racist mob and lynched.
Friday’s event, held at Martin Luther King R. Plaza outside the Douglas County Courthouse, is one of many soil collection ceremonies that happen nationwide to acknowledge victims of similar hate crimes that occurred across the country in an era marked by anti-Black riots and racial terror.
In addition to hearing special readings, music, poetry, and more, the local event allowed community members an opportunity to put soil from the site into jars as a symbol of acknowledgment of the somber point in local history as well as its significance in the national timeline of racial injustice.
The jars will be displayed locally and in Montgomery, Ala., home of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Friday’s event was organized by the Douglas County Community Remembrance Project in partnership with the City of Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department, the Omaha Community Council for Racial Justice and Reconciliation, and the Equal Justice Initiative.
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