NAACP lynching marker stolen from Lithonia park

A historical marker memorializing those who lost their lives to lynching was recently stolen from Kelly Park in Lithonia, according to a Feb. 27 announcement from NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) DeKalb.

The marker was unveiled on Feb. 24, 2021, which NAACP officials said was significant because it was “one year and one day after Ahmaud Arbery was murdered.” NAACP DeKalb also installed a lynching memorial in front of the DeKalb County courthouse in Decatur and in Druid Hills in 2021.

Officials said they are asking community members and law enforcement to help return the marker that was stolen from Lithonia.

The news release states that “the removal of this marker is not just an act of theft but an attempt to erase our collective memory and deny the painful truths of our past.”

The marker was part of NAACP DeKalb’s Remembrance Project – which branch officials said was the first project to honor victims of racial terror in DeKalb.

The stolen memorial describes racial terrorism that happened in Lithonia beginning in 1877. According to the marker, “After Reconstruction was abandoned in 1877, White mobs in Lithonia terrorized the Black community through lynchings that denied Black people their rights and equal protection under the law. On July 27, 1877, a White mob from Lithonia lynched Rueben Hudson near the Georgia Railroad stop in Redan.”

The memorial states that officers who arrested Hudson for fitting the description of a wanted criminal handed him over to the White mob instead of protecting him. The memorial also states that five years later, another White mob from Lithonia “chased two unidentified Black men,” and it was “generally understood that they were lynched.”

Mob participants were not held accountable for the lynching, despite a “functioning legal system in DeKalb County,” according to the memorial.

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