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.
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
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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.