Unknown vandals shot a historic marker for Jackie Robinson and one other for lynching victims in rural Georgia

Unknown vandals shot a historical marker for Jackie Robinson and another for lynching victims in rural Georgia

2021-02-24 00:45:36

Two of these indicators had been discovered riddled with bullet holes, most not too long ago a marker commemorating Jackie Robinson’s start.
The vandals have not been recognized, however their acts are simply the newest in a disturbing rise in vandalism concentrating on historic markers, notably those who heart on Black People, mentioned the Georgia Historic Society, a nonprofit that erects historic markers throughout the state.

“That is one thing we’re seeing occur more and more, [historical markers] really being vandalized with not simply paint or one thing, however being vandalized with weapons,” Georgia Historic Society president and CEO Todd Groce instructed CNN.

The markers are a launch pad into the customarily racist historical past of Georgia and the US, Groce mentioned. The latest acts of vandalism mirror how related that historical past nonetheless is, he mentioned.

The Atlanta Journal-Structure first reported on the indicators’ harm.

Two indicators have been shot at within the final 12 months

The Georgia Historic Society acquired stories that the Robinson marker had been broken final week and despatched a member to Cairo, Georgia, Robinson’s birthplace, to research.

The member found the signal had been shot at from each side, Groce mentioned.

Lt. Daniel Lindsay with the Grady County Sheriff’s Workplace mentioned the bullet holes regarded as if they got here from a shotgun. However as a result of the signal is positioned in a distant space of the county and investigators do not have a transparent timeline of when the vandalism occurred, they have not but recognized any suspects, he instructed CNN.

Georgia Historic Society board member Erroll B. Davis Jr., former chancellor of the College System of Georgia, decried the harm performed to the marker for Robinson, the Main League Baseball star whose achievement in breaking the game’s coloration barrier “ought to carry pleasure to all People.”

“This can be a shameful act of vandalism that sadly has been carried out towards a number of different markers that commemorate Civil Rights figures, in Georgia and past,” Davis mentioned in a press release.

Robinson’s marker was the second within the final 12 months to be broken by gunfire. In late 2020, unknown vandals additionally apparently shot at a marker close to Valdosta that memorializes lynching victims together with Mary Turner, a 21-year-old Black lady who was burned and shot to loss of life by a mob whereas she was eight months pregnant. She was killed the day after her husband was lynched, two of 11 Black residents of their city to be lynched by a mob inside days.
The marker that memorialized Mary Turner, a pregnant Black woman who was lynched along with 10 other Black residents of their Georgia town, was shot so many times it had to be replaced.

The marker for Turner’s lynching was lined in so many bullet holes it needed to be taken down and recast, Groce mentioned.

“It appears like a sieve,” he mentioned.

Each Turner and Robinson’s indicators are in rural areas of Georgia, near the precise spot of the occasions they commemorate. Although the areas are correct, they’re usually remoted, which “creates alternatives for mischief,” Groce mentioned.

Vandalizing indicators for Black historical past is more and more frequent

Historic markers are broken considerably usually, Groce mentioned, sometimes in automotive accidents or extreme climate occasions. However discovering indicators that’ve been shot at has grow to be extra frequent, he mentioned.

Groce declined to invest on the motivations of the vandals, however he mentioned it is telling that they singled out the indicators that commemorate Black historical past.

“There’s one thing about these tales that they don’t like,” Groce mentioned. “The truth that they used firearms can also be attempting to ship a really robust message to us and to anybody in regards to the story itself.”

The Emmett Till memorial where the frat students posed is gone. A bulletproof sign will replace it soon
The Georgia acts of vandalism are paying homage to the repeated vandalization of a historic marker for Emmett Until, the Black teen who was killed in 1955 by two White males who accused him of flirting with a White lady. The check in rural Mississippi was shot at and changed a number of occasions because it was erected in 2007, most not too long ago in 2019, when it was positioned behind bulletproof glass.

The Georgia Historic Society’s restricted finances would not permit for such strategies of safety for its historic markers, Groce mentioned.

As a substitute, they’re going to probably relocate the indicators. Groce mentioned as soon as the historians’ group recasts the signal for Turner and different lynching victims, they’re going to place it alongside a well-traveled highway. That approach, he mentioned, extra folks can view it and there is much less of an opportunity it will be vandalized.

“All People of all races must embrace these tales,” Groce mentioned of the tales instructed on the historic markers. “It illustrates who we’re. Typically it tells some fairly ugly issues about us.”

The purpose of the markers, he mentioned, is to begin troublesome conversations and make clear folks and occasions that had been beforehand erased. Even when they can not pay to guard them, the historians are intent on maintaining them public.

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