Lynching Soil Collected for Mallie Wilson in Greenfield, TN
On Friday, September 4th, 2020: Members of the Weakley County Reconciliation Project (WCRP) held a solemn commemoration of the life of Mallie Wilson, a young African American resident of Greenfield who was lynched on that date in 1915. The attendees walked to a peaceful, wooded location near where Mr. Wilson was lynched, to dig soil that will be held for a larger public ceremony at a later date. Mayor Cindy McAdams approved the project to recognize this part of Greenfield’s history.
Mr. Wilson’s execution was the last of eight documented racial lynchings throughout Weakley County. Lynchings were killings that took place outside the law enforcement and judicial systems, with no legal trials or evidence, and sometimes in direct conflict with law enforcement. The brief but moving ceremony, officiated by Pastor Orrin
Cowley, began a process of bringing healing and restoring peace to this site in Weakley County that experienced hatred and violence. The WCRP is researching the other lynchings in order to hold ceremonies in those locations as well.
Some of Greenfield’s soil will go to the Legacy Museum founded by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, AL, where jars of soil with names of lynching victims are displayed as part of EJI’s Community Remembrance Project. Many counties around the South are making efforts to acknowledge the lasting legacy of racial terrorism in their communities.
Official Soil Collection Ceremony Date: TBD
We will be holding an official Soil Collection Ceremony in the Spring. Follow WCRP on Facebook to stay up to date on this project.
Get Involved: If you’d like to help us research other lynching sites in Weakley County please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . Lynchings aren’t talked about which makes the approximate location of lynching sites challenging to pin down. If you can offer information about locations or like researching these things please let us know.