COEBURN — Town council has gone on record supporting an effort to recognize injustices in Wise County’s past.

On Aug. 12, council passed a resolution in support of the Community Remembrance Project, which aims to document local lynching incidents against African-Americans.

The resolution notes that the Virginia General Assembly in February passed Joint Resolution 655, which directed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission to develop programs that bring awareness of such incidents, “as such awareness might contribute to the process of healing and reconciliation in Virginia’s still-wounded communities and for families and descendants affected by lynchings.”

The Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative created the Community Remembrance Project, which works with communities to collect soil from lynching sites and erect historical markers and monuments in those spaces, the resolution notes.

In passing this resolution, it continues, council and its members “pledge to uphold the values of authenticity, forthrightness, collaboration, listening with respect and empowered courtesy” personally and in council’s involvement with the project.

Local project organizers approached council in July seeking support. They noted that three documented lynching incidents took place in Wise County, and that two incidents, in 1902 and 1927, involved Coeburn residents.

To learn more about the local remembrance project, contact Preston Mitchell at pwm2q@uvawise.edu.

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