EJI report accounts for 19 lynchings in Dallas County

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The Equal Justice Initiative, aimed at advocating for the advancement of civil rights, recently released a state-by-state and county-by-county report of lynchings of African-Americans by white perpetrators during the Jim Crow era.

For the report, the Jim Crow era is defined as the time period from 1877 to 1950.

The EJI spent countless hours discovering and documenting lynchings from the 12 states that were most associated with the nefarious act.

Alabama was included as one of these 12 states with 361 reported lynchings during this time.

Alabama had the third-most lynchings over the era, with only Georgia and Mississippi possessing a more troubled past.

In county breakdown, it is reported by the EJI that 19 African-Americans were lynched in Dallas County during the Jim Crow era. Jefferson County was the only county that had more with 29.

The numbers highlight a past that Selma-Dallas County residents are familiar with because of the history this area has with the fight for civil rights.

To Ainka Jackson, who heads the Selma Center for Truth, Nonviolence and Reconciliation, the report from the Equal Justice Initiative is an example of the healing process that is still underway in the city.

“A friend of mine has said that Selma has post-traumatic stress disorder because this town went through some traumatic experiences. The symptoms are still playing out today,” Jackson said. “It is a part of our history, but we cannot have it as part of our future.”

Jackson believes she needs to keep working to help heal the city.

Jackson and the EJI have partnered multiple times previously to honor the victims of unjustified killings by collecting soil from different lynching spots.

These collections are then taken to a museum so that what happened to the victims will never happen again.

In order to help preserve the memories and keep the healing process in the right direction, Jackson believes a few methods she has adopted for the Selma Center for Nonviolence can be applied to all of the Black Belt.

“There must be truth before there is reconciliation. Without truth, it is not possible,” Jackson said.

“We need to know the names of the victims, because some of them are still unknown. We need to be able to talk to one another. The pain can carry on for generations.”

The Equal Justice Initiative’s Lynching in America report covers decades of racial discrimination and fear tactics, which include photos and documents from a different era of American history.

For more information about the EJI or their nationwide lynching report, visit www.eji.org/reports/lynching-in-america.