Garfield King, Matthew Williams, unidentified middle-aged male : Salisbury Considers Apology for Lynching Deaths of Three Black Men

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : The racial violence that has haunted Salisbury’s past has taken center stage once again, as the City Council held a special work session on Monday to address the lynching deaths of three black men. The Wicomico NAACP Branch 7028b and the Wicomico Truth and Reconciliation Initiative have drafted a resolution that seeks to acknowledge the city’s historical role in the lynching deaths that occurred between 1898 and 1931. The resolution is currently being reviewed by the city’s legal counsel.

Among the victims were Garfield King, Matthew Williams, and an unidentified middle-aged male. The county’s NAACP chapter has also revealed that some city officials during that time were directly involved in the lynching of Matthew Williams. It has been confirmed that then-Police Chief Nicholas Holland led the mob that kidnapped Williams, and Fire Chief Frederick Grier, Jr. provided the rope for his lynching.

During the council meeting, LaTanya Christopher, a descendant of Garfield King, emphasized the need for a formal apology to recognize the darkest aspects of the city’s past. She stated that Garfield King was a victim of racial hatred and injustice and called for the community to learn and heal from this painful chapter in the city’s history.

In addition to an apology, the NAACP and the reconciliation initiative propose educational programs to ensure that the era of racial violence is not forgotten and to prevent its repetition. The resolution has been described as a long-overdue opportunity for reconciliation and closure by President of the Wicomico County NAACP, Monica Brooks.

James Yamakawa, a board member of the Truth and Reconciliation Initiative, acknowledged that the process of drafting the resolution has been slow but necessary. He stated that the resolution is a jumping-off point and, although not perfect, it serves as a means to acknowledge and address the city’s shortcomings.

Salisbury City Council President D’Shawn Doughty emphasized the importance of community input in coming to terms with the city’s history. He expressed the need for accountability and building a path forward.

The newly elected members of the City Council are currently reviewing the resolution, which outlines the events surrounding the lynching deaths and identifies those responsible through historical research. The resolution seeks to formally apologize to the known descendants of the victims and the Black community at large for the city’s role in these acts of racial terrorism and the years of silence that followed.

The resolution will be discussed during the City Council’s regular legislative session on December 11th. It is a significant step towards acknowledging and addressing the racial violence that has plagued Salisbury’s past, as well as promoting healing and reconciliation within the community.

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