In partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the Community Remembrance Project of Missouri (CRP-MO) was established by Missourians to work in coordination with communities throughout the state to memorialize victims of racial terror lynching, raise public awareness, facilitate education, and engage in conversations around reconciliation. The centerpiece of these efforts revolves around Missouri's history of racial injustice—in particular, its legacy of racial terrorism.
We began our journey as a coalition through recognizing the lynching of Mr. Levi Harrington, in Kansas City. We collected soil at the site of his victimization and erected a marker to tell his story on December 1, 2018, at the southwest corner of Ermine Case Jr. Park, overlooking the site of his murder at the Bluff St. bridge.
Over the last two years, the Community Remembrance Project of Missouri has been working to recognize the victims of lynching, with the ultimate aims of collecting 60 jars of soil from lynching sites across the state, erecting historical markers, and creating a permanent soil exhibit in Kansas City acknowledging the statewide horrors of racial injustice. It is our sincerest hope this will provide a resource for and encourage others to do this necessary work, so that together we might build a better and more just future for all Missourians. In this effort, we have pledged to uphold the Equal Justice Initiative’s values of authenticity, forthrightness, collaboration, listening with respect, and empowering courtesy.
We hope to open the exhibit at the Black Archives of Mid America in Kansas City in late 2020. Over the course of this year, we will work in coordination with communities across the state to gather jars of soil in at least three counties. During each soil collection, memorial services will be held to honor the horrific loss of life. Once open, the exhibit will accept additional jars of soil, as associated communities engage in coordinated gathering efforts. We are currently working with communities in St. Joseph/Buchanan, St. Louis, Columbia, Springfield, and Fulton.
The exhibit will not only display collected soil, but also share the story of the individual whose life was viciously taken. Providing context is a critical feature of this work. Demonstrative displays and educational programming will further enhance meaningful understanding of racial terror lynching. This is all achieved in the spirit of justice, truth seeking, racial reconciliation, and by creating a historical marker for acknowledgement and memorial.