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Pittsboro library recognizes Chatham County lynching victims from a century ago

Chatham Community Library memorial display.
Chatham Community Library
submitted image
Chatham Community Library memorial display of lynching victims.

In recognition of Black History month, Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro is showing a display to memorialize six victims who were lynched in Chatham County between 1880 and 1920. The display was created through a partnership with a local organization called Community Remembrance Coalition of Chatham.

Mary Mills, the assistant librarian, said Eugene Daniel was one of the victims.

“He was accused of trespassing in a woman's bedroom and attempted rape,” Mills said. “Although that is unlikely, he was then taken before he had a chance to be on trial for that and was lynched.”

The other victims that will be memorialized in the library include married couple Harriet and Jerry Finch, Lee Tyson, John Pattishall and Henry Jones.

Visitors can view the memorial in the lobby of the library. It will include soil from each area where the victims were lynched.

“The soil jars are along the bottom row," Mills said. “They're large, they're about a gallon-sized jar for each victim.”

Above the jars are documents that were provided about congressional recognition of the lynching victims and Chatham County officials apologizing on behalf of their government position.

Chatham Community Library will display the memorial for the entire month of February.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.
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