Between 1877 to 1950, more than 4,400 African Americans were victims of racial terrorism and lynching. Most communities have said or done nothing to acknowledge their local history of racial terror lynching, and many victims of racial terror and the trauma of these atrocities has been largely ignored.
On Saturday, December 1st, 2018, the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City, the Missouri Conference of the NAACP, Missouri Faith Voices, and Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) will erect its first historical maker to acknowledge the racial terror lynching of Mr. Levi Harrington, who was killed in West Kansas City on April 3, 1882.
The dedication of this historical marker will become part of a process of restorative truth telling to support community reconciliation, exploring difficult features of Missouri’s common history as a means of moving forward together. We believe that erecting markers and raising community consciousness of our past is a powerful way to reckon with local histories of racial terror and to inspire our communities to work towards healing painful legacies of racial injustice and inequality.
On April 3, 1882, Levi Harrington, a young African American man, was abducted from police custody by a large white mob of several hundred participants and lynched in West Kansas City. Within two days of the mob’s violent hysteria, newspapers began to report that Mr. Harrington was “the wrong man” and had been innocent of the alleged crime that provoked his murder. Like nearly all documented racial terror lynching victims, Mr. Harrington had not had an opportunity to receive due process when accused, and he was killed by a mob who never faced prosecution for his lynching. Levi Harrington was one of at least 60 African Americans victims of racial terror lynching killed in Missouri between 1877 and 1950.
To create greater awareness and understanding about racial terror lynchings, our coalition intends to mark many of the spaces where lynchings took place in Missouri with memorial
s and historical markers, and we are inviting community members to join us in these efforts! The silence surrounding these atrocities has added to the sense of injury and anguish in many African American communities, and communities of color, and have contributed to less thoughtful and serious discussion around issues of race in our nation and local communities. We believe that by publicly marking the sites of lynchings, a necessary conversation can begin that advances truth and reconciliation. Understanding the era of racial terror is critical if we are to confront the challenges that we currently face from mass incarceration, excessive punishment, unjustified police violence and the presumption of guilt and dangerousness that burdens many people of color.
We hope you will join us at our dedication ceremony on Saturday, December 1st at 3pm in West Terrace Park, 750 Pennsylvania Ave Kansas City, MO 64105 to remember Mr. Harrington, and to acknowledge and tell stories that are inclusive of our past in order to facilitate healing.
To support this important work please visit our Go Fund Me page: Support Truth and Reconciliation: Fund a Marker for Kansas City Lynching Victim Levi Harrington
For more information, or to RSVP please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org