Letter: Locals should join initiative for healing

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, May 2, 2018

As a proud son of Covington County and graduate of Andalusia High School, I hope that my hometown will join a landmark Alabama-based initiative to achieve greater racial understanding and healing across America.

On April 26, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery dedicated its National Memorial for Peace and Justice, inscribing the names of hundreds of African American lynching victims, 1865-1980. Six of those victims lived and died in Covington County.

Like other counties with at least one documented lynching, our county’s name appears in the EJI memorial on its own dedicated steel cannister listing local victims and the dates of their deaths. Those are as follows: (Unknown) Pedigree (2/20/1906), Neal Sanders (11/30/1907), Bush Withers (10/3/1910), Jim Green (2/25/1913), John Womack (5/21/18), and Jack Waters (1/15/1920).

Lying near the permanent display in Montgomery are identical county cannisters manufactured for distribution across the nation to localities where citizens wish to set them as local monuments. Their purpose is not to celebrate the horrors of hangings, tortures, and mutilations, but to help enlist empathy, understanding, and trust across America’s continuing racial divide. Ironically, by more fully acknowledging horrific events in our history, we can affirm to future generations that we have confronted and learned from ancestral crimes and that we now stand committed to the American dream of equal justice for all.

I believe Covington County’s memorial might best stand in or near the courthouse, but, obviously, the location would be a local choice—as indeed would be the decision to accept the EJI offer.

I urge friends, neighbors, and leaders of good will to consider this opportunity and how we might contribute to a more connected and wholesome future for our posterity.

For more information: www.eji.org.


In love and high regard,

John Northrop

222 Raymond Drive

Homewood AL 35209