Omahans commemorate 1891 lynching of George Smith

A group of Omahans gathered at the Douglas County Courthouse on a chilly day in October 2020 to commemorate the 1891 lynching of George Smith, a Black man falsely accused of raping a White child. The lynching took place at the same location where another Black man, Will Brown, was lynched under similar circumstances in 1919.

The event was organized by Dr. Franklin Thompson of the University of Nebraska Omaha and the Equal Justice Initiative of Montgomery, Alabama. EJI has been gathering jars of soil from lynching sites around the US and erecting historical markers. During the ceremony a series of readers read aloud my chapter on Smith from my book, A Dirty, Wicked Town: Tales of 19th Century Omaha. Both WOWT-TV and the Omaha World-Herald covered the event.

I spoke for about five minutes near the end of the ceremony. Here are my remarks:

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