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Soil collection part of marker dedication ceremony

Soil collected from the site of the 1896 lynching of Thomas Washington near Center Cross will serve as a memorial of one of Essex County’s darkest days.

According to a press release, the soil collection will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday as part of the unveiling and dedication of a historic highway marker about the lynching. The ceremony will be at the marker site at 31428 Tidewater Trail, Center Cross, adjacent to the fire station.

Gallon-sized jars will be filled with soil for permanent placement in the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, and in the Essex County Museum and Historical Society.

The soil collection effort is part of Equal Justice Initiative’s Community Remembrance Project and includes samples from lynching sites around the country. The project seeks to document roughly 4,400 African American victims of racial lynchings from 1877 until 1950. It helps localities come to terms with their own histories of lynching and to engage in the ...

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