New exhibit memorializes lynching victim

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A new exhibit was introduced to the community Monday afternoon at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Crozet Branch, which memorializes John Henry James, a man who was lynched in Albemarle County on July 12, 1898.

Officials from the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and Albemarle County Board of Supervisors met in the library to introduce the exhibit, which includes the soil collected from John Henry James' lynching site in Albemarle County and a computer that showcases the history about his lynching.

The soil from John Henry James' lynching site was collected last July and taken on a pilgrimage to Montgomery, Alabama to be remembered with hundreds of other African-Americans who were lynched.

Andrea Douglas, executive director of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, said the mission behind this exhibit is to amplify their education efforts.

"There's a whole narrative of Virginia racial history that a large number just don't know," said Douglas. "It's only over the course of a few years that we've been able to uncover these individual stories."

Norman Dill, a member of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, also added that the exhibit is another step toward preserving an important part of the county's history.

"I think this will make it so future generations can identify and understand what happened then," Dill said.

Understanding this history is also another part Douglas said will help people memorialize James and keep his memory alive.

"By bringing in this living thing, you're creating an opportunity for growth," said Douglas. "You're creating an opportunity to see this as an ongoing and vital part of our history."

The exhibit will be on display in the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Crozet Branch until the end of February.

It will travel through the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library branches every month at the following locations:

March - Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Central Branch

April - Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Gordonsville Branch

May - Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Scottsville Branch

June- Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Northside Branch

The exhibit will end the tour at the County Office Building in July to be part of a history exhibit.

For more information on the Community Remembrance Project, you can click on the link in the Related Links box.

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