Oregon Remembrance Project – Truth Telling in Coos Bay

Oregon Remembrance Project – Truth Telling in Coos Bay

This post was written by Taylor Stewart, founder of Oregon Remembrance Project. Join the truth telling event and ceremony for the historical marker honoring the life of Alonzo Tucker on June 19.

Taylor Stewart — Photo from Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPJoOb8BPDW/

Hello, my name is Taylor Stewart. After a life changing trip to the American South, I started working with an organization in Montgomery, AL called the Equal Justice Initiative on what’s called the Community Remembrance Project, which aims to work in the communities where the lynchings of African Americans took place to find healing and reconciliation through a sober reflection on history.

The Equal Justice Initiative has documented nearly 6,500 African American victims of lynching between 1865-1950.

Lynching killed thousands of African Americans, imposed racial subordination, forced the exodus of millions from the South, and diminished African Americans in this country’s social, political, and economic life in ways that can still be felt today.

At least one African American was lynched in Oregon. His name was Alonzo Tucker and he was lynched in Coos Bay, OR in 1902 in front of a crowd of 300.

Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, says “truth and reconciliation are sequential.” So, in order to get to reconciliation, we must first engage in the requisite truth telling and we have started this truth telling in Coos Bay.

For the last three years I have been working with the Coos History Museum and the City of Coos Bay on a series of acts of remembrance to memorialize Alonzo Tucker. Back on February 29, 2020 we held a soil collection ceremony for Alonzo Tucker where we collected two jars of soil. One that was sent back to a museum in Montgomery and the other that is now on display at the Coos History Museum.

On June 19, 2021 we’ll be installing an Equal Justice Initiative historical marker in Coos Bay. One side will tell the story of lynching in America as a whole and the other side will tell the story of Alonzo Tucker. We would love to have you join us virtually in remembrance on June 19. The historical marker ceremony will be streamed online on the Oregon Remembrance Project’s Facebook: https://fb.me/e/2O6tqLLgh

Connect with Oregon Remembrance Project:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oregonremembranceproject/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oregonremembranceproject/?hl=en
Twitter: https://twitter.com/oregonremembra1?lang=en

The Oregon Remembrance Project is one individual but that doesn’t mean this is an individual effort. I invite you to join me in finding justice for the lynching of Alonzo Tucker and other instances of historical injustice in Oregon.

Congregation Close-up: Emmanuel, Coos Bay

Submitted by Dave Laird (Senior Warden), Kerri Coldren (Administrator), Al Rumsch (Vestry), and the parishioners of Emmanuel Church

It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child, but in our case, it takes a congregation of dedicated, committed and caring individuals to raise our church.

Without a priest since late January, the whole congregation of Emmanuel has stepped up and filled vital roles.  For example, parishioners in leadership roles agreed to serve another year to ease the transition to a new priest. Musicians, altar guild, and lay readers all came together to form a worship team and did incredible service to our church.  Individual parishioners volunteer many hours a week in our outreach ministries, not to mention our columbarium, our financial committees, vestry, and taking care of our grounds and building. 

One of our most exciting ministry programs is our state certified day care program.  The Emmanuel Preschool serves children from newborns through preschool ages from early morning to late afternoon.  Emmanuel received a three year grant from the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon Foundation to help get us going.  We’re starting the third year of the grant this September.

The Food Cupboard, run by mostly Emmanuel volunteers and others from the community, serves thousands of hungry people each year.  Emmanuel donates space to the Food Cupboard and helps support its mission through donations of food, time, talent and money.

Our vision as a congregation is to serve as a “light on the hill.”  Our church sits proudly on a hill above the town. 

Since the current building was built here in the early 1950s, we have strived to be an example to the community.  The church building itself, the style and architecture, is part of an aspirational vision.  Since the first construction, parishioners have added a copper covered steeple and beautiful stain glass windows.  The inside of the church reflects the hull of a ship symbolizing the togetherness of all inside the church.  We hope our presence and spirit will draw more to the church and our worship.

Emmanuel Coos Bay website