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Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission Convened to Commemorate and Remember Men Who Were Lynched in Montgomery County

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Montgomery County’s Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission has convened to support community dialogue about racial justice and establish a memorial for African Americans who were lynched in Montgomery County.

The Commission is comprised of community leaders appointed by Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, in consultation with the Office of Human Rights.

"The Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission will do the important work of ensuring that George Peck, John Diggs and Sidney Randolph, the men who were lynched in Montgomery County, are always commemorated and remembered as a significant part of our County’s history,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “It is an awful truth, and not one some people may want to acknowledge; but it happened, and we can only move forward when we recognize our past injustices and wrongdoings so we never repeat the cruelty that destroyed lives, families and communities.”

This commission will support community efforts to work with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) to recognize the victims of lynchings in Montgomery County and help the County understand and take steps to address its own history of racial injustice.

Councilmembers Hans Riemer, Will Jawando and Craig Rice sponsored the resolution to establish the committee. All Councilmembers voted to unanimously accept the resolution.

“With an appreciation for the historical significance of this moment, I joined the inaugural meeting of the Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission, founded to support a community dialogue about our county’s history of racial terrorism and lynching, and to seek to overcome it with new initiatives to promote justice and equality,” said Councilmember Riemer. “As a country and a community, we need to own up to our history and let that understanding shape our way forward. I am eager to see the creative ideas this group will propose to promote the conversation in a community that I know is ready to embrace the past and the future as one.”

“Rooted in the long history of slavery, lynching was a violent public act of racial terrorism against African Americans that occurred across the United States,” said Councilmember Jawando. “George Peck, John Diggs and Sidney Randolph were victims of this atrocity in Montgomery County. To successfully move forward, we must look back and learn from the injustices of our past. The Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission’s role in engaging the community in honest and meaningful dialogue around this and similar issues can not only bring healing but will also promote a future of hope, peace, unity and prosperity for everyone.”

“Bringing to light the atrocities that happened to George Peck, John Diggs, Sidney Randolph and acknowledging their lynchings is long overdue,” said Councilmember Rice. These victims were murdered and they were denied due process, and this affects our community as a whole. It’s important to spotlight the horrors of our past and to facilitate better racial dialogue in the future.”

At least three documented lynchings occurred in the County, two in 1880 and one in 1896. EJI, a foundation located in Alabama, has documented more than 4,000 lynchings in more than 800 counties nationwide, mostly between the years 1880 and 1940. To recognize lynching victims, EJI created The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The museum features a walkway with 800 worn steel columns or pillars hanging from the roof and laying on the floor, engraved with the names of lynching victims.

The Commission members are: Shelia Bashiri; Alexa Fraser, Jason Green; Robert McGarrah, Jacqueline Peng, Aisha Satterwhite; Alonzo Smith; Jeanne Toungara; Timothy Tutt and Michael Williams. Non-Voting Officio members include: Anthony Cohen; Okianer Christian Dark; Suzan Jenkins; Matthew Logan; Sherlene Lucas; Oyebisi Olatoye; Gboyinde Onijala; Tina Patterson and Jeannette Rojas

For more information on the commission, contact Human Rights Director James Stowe at 240-777-8450.

Release ID: 20-077
Media Contact: Judy Stiles 240-777-6536