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Dinniman, Community Leaders Remember Lynching of Zachariah Walker
COATESVILLE (November 13, 2017) – State Senator Andy Dinniman recently joined members of the Coatesville Ministerial Alliance, Merion Friends Meeting, Coatesville Greater Deliverance Church, the Coatesville NAACP, and others to remember the lynching death of Zachariah Walker as part of a Community Remembrance Project of the Equal Justice Initiative.
The group gathered at Greater Deliverance Church in Coatesville and walked to the site on Route 82 where Walker was lynched and burned alive on August 13, 1911. There, they worshiped in peace, sang gospel hymns, shared personal testimony, and gathered soil to be preserved in perpetuity.
“We cannot forget that lynching took place here. Not in the deep south, but here in Chester County,” Dinniman said. “It starts with prejudice and then it becomes discrimination and prejudice in action. And then what happens is, if no one stands up, it becomes institutionalized. It is tolerated. You see, we had lynchings like what happened here, but no one was ever convicted or faced real punishment for the crime.”
Soil from the lynching site was placed in two glass jars – one to be housed in Chester County and the other to be permanently displayed at the Equal Justice Initiative Museum planned for Montgomery, Alabama.
“The soil that was soaked with Zachariah Walker’s blood and his sweat and his tears was part of a destructive act – a crime that tarnished this community. But today, we’re here to rededicate this soil as part of a restorative act. As an act of remembrance, unity, and an understanding of the injustice that occurred here so that it is never permitted to happen again. Never again,” Dinniman said.
The Equal Justice Initiative aims to offer community members opportunities to take part in concrete acts of recovery, restoration, and hope as they confront historical acts of racial violence and create an environment where there can be equal justice for all.
It plans to build a national memorial to victims of lynching and open a museum that explores African American history from enslavement to mass incarceration. Both the museum and memorial will be located in Montgomery, Alabama.
For more information, visit www.eji.org.