Chatham County dedicates marker memorializing lynching victims

Pittsboro, NC – On September 24, 2022, local and state leaders joined the Community Remembrance Coalition Chatham, the NAACP, and other community groups to dedicate a historical marker memorializing several black individuals who were lynched between 1885 and 1921 in Chatham County. Community members of all races, ages, and backgrounds attended the special ceremony as the marker was unveiled outside the Chatham County Government Annex in Pittsboro. 

Bob Pearson and Mary Nettles, with the Community Remembrance Coalition Chatham unveiled the historical marker outside the Chatham County Government Annex in Pittsboro

The marker details that between 1885 and 1921, white mobs terrorized and lynched at least six black people in Chatham County, creating a legacy of violence, intimidation, and injustice. The victims were Jerry and Harriet Finch, John Pattishall, Lee Tyson, Henry Jones, and Eugene Daniel. No mob participants were held accountable for lynching these individuals.

Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chair Karen Howard, who accepted the marker on behalf of the County, said it is important to bring to the surface the full stories of Chatham County – even the painful ones.  

“The families whose loved ones were murdered and the extended community that continued to live in the shadow of the terror of lynchings now have a remembrance of those lives and a public acknowledgment of the many failures of the system and the injustice that took them away,” said Howard. “It is our duty to remember these lives and commit to never letting this aspect of our collective history repeat itself.”

In addition to remarks from elected officials and clergy, students from Woods Charter School, Chatham Dance Connection, and the Ebone Soul Strutters performed. The ceremony concluded with a powerful prayer where attendees placed their hands on the marker and one another as a sign of healing and hope.

The Equal Justice Initiative is working with many other communities across the country as part of the Community Historical Marker Project.