Remembering Tuscaloosa County Victims of Lynching

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Remembering Tuscaloosa County Victims of Lynching




On March 6, 2017, a commemorative program was held to unveil a historical marker remembering Tuscaloosa County victims of lynching. The marker is in front of the Old Jail at 2803 6th Street, Tuscaloosa.

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) works with residents of communities where lynchings occurred to erect historical markers. Students in the course "Southern Memory: Lynching in the South," taught by University of Alabama Associate Professor John Giggie further researched these cases from information provided by the EJI.

Bryan Stevenson, the founder of EJI, Dr. Scott Bridges of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Task Force, and Fr. Tommie Watkins of the Canterbury Episcopal Church spoke at the dedication.

The unveiling was followed by a commemorative program held at the first African Baptist Church at 2521 Stillman Blvd, Tuscaloosa

The text of the marker is:

Lynching in America
Thousands of African Americans were victims of lynching and racial violence in the United States between the Civil War and World War II. The lynching of African Americans during this era was a form of racial terrorism used to intimidate black people and enforce racial hierarchy and segregation. Lynching was most prevalent in the South. After the Civil War, violent resistance to equal rights for African Americans and an ideology of white supremacy led to fatal violence against black women, men, and children accused of violating social customs, engaging in interracial relationships, or crimes. Community leaders who spoke against this racial terror were themselves often targeted by violent mobs. Lynching became the most public and notorious form of racial terror and subordination directed at black people and was frequently tolerated or even supported by law enforcement and elected officials. Though terror lynching generally took place in communities with functioning criminal justice systems, lynching victims were denied due process, often based on mere accusations, and pulled from jails or delivered to mobs by law officers legally required to protect them. Millions of African Americans fled the South to escape the climate of terror and trauma created by these acts of violence. Of the more than 350 documented racial terror lynchings that took place in Alabama between 1877 and 1950, eight took place in Tuscaloosa County.

Lynching in Tuscaloosa County
Terror lynching in Tuscaloosa County went unaddressed for decades devastating the African American community. In December 1889, Bud Wilson was taken from police by a white mob who hung and fatally shot him after he was alleged to have entered the home of a white woman. This lynching followed that of Andy Burke who was taken from the Tuscaloosa Jail and killed by a mob in 1884. Charles McKelton and John Johnson were removed from police custody by a white mob and hanged from a tree in Romulus on February 11, 1892. On July 12, 1898, over 100 white farmers hung and fatally shot Sidney Johnson near Coaling after he was accused of assaulting two white women. When a black man named John Durrett denounced the mob killing, a white mob surrounded Durrett’s home three days later on July 15 and lynched him. Lynchings continued in Tuscaloosa County well into the 20th century. On March 13, 1919, a mob of white men abducted Cicero Cage, a black teenager, near the town of Ralph and lynched him. None of these men were ever held accountable. The boy’s father, Sam Cage, found his son dead with his throat “literally cut to pieces.” On September 24, 1933, after being accused of attempting to assault a white woman near the Tuscaloosa Country Club, Dennis Cross was shot to death by group of white men who came to his home posing as officers. The county sheriff later stated that the woman Cross was accused of assaulting had in fact never been attacked.


Elizabeth Bradt


Elizabeth Bradt


March 6, 2017


Elizabeth Bradt (Description)






Tuscaloosa (AL)

Original Format