Establish a Grayson County Memorial for the Lynchings of John Martin and George Hughes

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A decade before the Grayson County Confederate memorial was established, an African American man, John Martin, was lynched in Bells. Two generations after the statue was dedicated, an African American man, George Hughes, was lynched in Sherman. A white mob, frenzied by rumors surrounding Mr Hughes’ case, was so enraged that they interrupted the trial several times before setting the courthouse on fire. Mr Hughes, trapped inside, died in the blaze. After destroying the courthouse the mob turned its wrath on many Black-owned businesses in town. Why am I bringing up the horrific events of 1885 and 1930? Because if we want to invoke history’s gaze on the present, we have to let it all out. Otherwise, we romanticize it, to the potential harm of others. Before anyone can debate the role of history, you have to know the history. For all the talk of “erasing history” happening around the country, we tend to only invoke it when it suits our particular perspective.

What would it look like if the Confederate memorial and a lynching remembrance shared the same space? What if history, not erased but fully exposed, inspired us to create conversations about who we were, who we are, and what we could become?