July 14: Congressman Cohen Introduces the ‘Evaluating Lynching Locations for National Parks Sites Act’

LSP Board President Rich Watkins will testify in the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands legislative hearing on H.R. 7912.

MEMPHIS, TN – The Lynching Sites Project of Memphis (LSP) Board President, Rich Watkins,
will testify before the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands at a legislative
hearing on H. R. 7912. This hearing is scheduled to be held on July 14, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. ET in
1324 Longworht House Office Building and via WebEx. The hearing will be livestreamed on the
Committee’s YouTube page.

Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House Committee on Natural Rescouces,
introduced the Evaluating Lynching Locations for National Park Sites Act on May 31, 2022. This
measure directs the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the National Park Service, to evaluate
lynching sites within approximately 100 miles of Memphis, TN for potential inclusion in the
National Park System.

One such site is where Ell Persons was murdered. Persons was was beaten into confessing to the killing of a white girl in 1917, taken from police custody, and then burned, decapitated and dismembered in front of an estimated crowd of 3,000 people who congregated on Macon Road
near the Wolf River in Memphis.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: “Unfortunately, there are many examples of lynching violence in our country’s history. Including these sites as part of our National Park System is an important step to remember the victims and to learn from the past so that it is never repeated.”

Rich Watkins, Board President of the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis, endorsed the legislation
saying, “We believe the report that will come from this Act will help our region openly face its
history of racial violence so that we can heal and grow.”

Anti-lynching crusader and publisher Ida B. Wells expressed another reason when she said, “The
way to right wrongs is to shine the light of truth on them.”

The Lynching Sites Project of Memphis believes that if Memphians together can face the horror
and terror of lynchings head-on, people will be empowered to face all the other challenges in
Memphis with courage, humility and hope.

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