Alachua County holds memorial service for lynching victims

Published: Feb. 8, 2020 at 12:04 PM EST
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In honor of black history month, Alachua county held a memorial service to show respect to the lives of 46 people who were lynched in the county over the years. Prayers, poems, song and drum calls filled Mount Pleasant United Methodist church.

Brittany Coleman, Gainesville resident said, "I thought it was very beautifully done, I definitely felt a sense of really deep honor I guess. For the victims of the lynchings in the county. There were times we got emotional, there were times when we were singing and we kind of felt a little bit more lively."

Even some family members of the lynching victims were there and got a chance to bring reconciliation in the county.

Yvonne Hayes Hinson said, "we have a lot of healing to do, we have a lot of racial issues still in 2020. The inequities that occur and disparities that are real, and we know they are. Have a lot to do with the past."

Hinson's son is named after his great-grandfather, Henry Hinson who was a landowner before he was lynched.

Alachua county commissioner Charles "Chuck" Chestnut said, "it's about healing the community but if we can't talk and be honest about what happened then there will never be any healing and we'll never move forward in this community. So that's the goal I think we want to portray."

Commissioner Chestnut adds that he hopes events for truth and reconciliation will lead to public schools teaching students about the 46 victims as a part of black history month.

On February 17, the county will be holding a community meeting for people to come out and discuss future plans for historical markers for the lynching victims.