The Lynching Sites Project of Memphis is having a prayer service to remember the death of Ell Persons, an African American woodcutter that was burned alive at the site of the service.
Ell Persons death was in 1917 and accounts from that time estimate that about 3,000 Memphis were gathered to watch and support his lynching. This will be the first known public gathering at the site and to honor Ell Persons’ life and death. A memorial will be held in 2017 to commemorate the 100th year of his death.
When: Sunday May 22
Where: On the corner of Shelby Oaks/Bartlett Rd. and Summer Ave.
Time: 5 – 6 pm
There will be parking on the street and free parking being offered by the Putt-Putt Golf Center. If the weather requires the prayer service will be held at the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 6050 Summer Ave.
According to leaders of the movement, faith leaders in the city hope that this event will mark the beginning of a year of conversation, prayers, and repentance.
As a native Memphian I thought I knew the history of my hometown pretty well. Growing up in the 60s here I also felt that I understood race and the need to grow past the segregation I knew as a child, but the discovery of the Ell Persons lynching story has awakened me at a whole new level. It is not easy to look into the truth of this, but I know it is good for my soul and for the soul of Memphis. –Rev. Randall Mullins, Lynching Sites Project of Memphis Co-leader
The Lynching Sites Project aims to bring a more honest and progressive public dialogue around race relations in Shelby County. Representatives from over 20 local congregations and organizations have come together to partner for this project. The LSPM is also working to have new or revised historical markers at every lynching site in Shelby County.
Stay updated with the event with the Facebook event page.