It is time for Lowndes County to revisit our past.

It is past time for Lowndes County to place a haunting memorial on the courthouse lawn to remind of us of the women and men who tragically lost their lives to racial atrocities, including being publicly lynched.

Other memorials rest on the historic Lowndes County Courthouse lawn.

There is a memorial to honor law enforcement personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty.

There is a memorial to honor the Confederate dead who lost their lives during the Civil War.

It is inappropriate to memorialize only the Confederate dead who died during this abysmal chapter of American history. Many people lost their lives during that war, many of them innocents who did not fight for either the Confederacy or for the United States.

It is a good thing that Lowndes County, like many places in the South, does not display a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis or Nathan Bedford Forrest, but that does not mean county leaders should not reconsider the message being sent to a large swath of our community by only memorializing the Confederate dead.

We understand many would prefer to simply forget the past and to act as if it never happened.

But ignored history is often fated to repeat itself.

In much the same way Montgomery, Alabama, prominently displays a statue of Rosa Parks to help make sure the city, the state and the nation never forget atrocities of the Civil Rights Movement, or the way a memorial placed at the Edmund Pettus Bridge reminds us of the horrors of Bloody Sunday, Lowndes County should honor the memory of the courageous woman who was lynched and her unborn child murdered for simply defending the honor of her husband.

The remote, unseen marker that stayed hidden near the tragic scene where the Mary Turner lynching took place was repeatedly vandalized and her memory desecrated.

Mary Turner is an important part of our local history.

Her story must be told and retold and never forgotten.

In much the same way that the brutal beating of those trying to cross the bridge in Selma now defines that city and calls us to a reckoning with the past, our county should honor Mary Turner in the most public space, the Lowndes County Courthouse Square.

In addition, to retrieving and erecting a monolith from the Legacy Museum and lynching memorials in Montgomery to remind us all of the horrific lynching, a statue of Turner herself would call us all to have our own reckoning with the past. 

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