Wise Town Council has joined Coeburn in going on record to support an effort to recognize injustices in Wise County’s past.

Council passed a resolution Aug. 27 in support of the Community Remembrance Project, which aims to document local lynching incidents against African-Americans.

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.

The Wise resolution notes that the initiative has documented more than 4,000 lynchings in the south between 1877 and 1950 — more than 80 of them in Virginia.

According to local project organizers, three documented lynching incidents took place in Wise County, the last one in 1927.

The Virginia General Assembly passed a law in 1928 declaring lynching a state crime, the resolution states, but “the extreme racial animus, violence, and terror embodied in the act of lynching did not die with the criminalization of the act, and few, if any, prosecutions occurred under the measure.”

The Equal Justice Initiative began investigating lynchings in 2010 and established the Memorial for Peace and Justice in 2018, the resolution notes.

Coeburn council passed a resolution supporting the effort on Aug. 12.

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

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