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Council to consider two resolutions regarding the 1906 Salisbury lynching

Resolution of Reconciliation, from Mayor Al Heggins

WHEREAS, the act of reconciliation is bringing together of that which has been divided; and

Whereas, when a community suffers a deep hurt, it is wise to address the harm; and a way to do this is to engage is restorative justice; and

WHEREAS, restorative justice is a process whereby all identified stakeholders come together to collectively resolve an offense and its impact on the present and the future; and

WHEREAS, restorative justice creates space to build empathy and understanding between the victims and the offender…for each other; and

WHEREAS, the ultimate goal of restorative justice is to achieve a sense of healing by diligently and intentionally repairing the harm done to the victim, the offender and the community; and

WHEREAS, Friday the 13th, in July of 1906, brought with it the tragic and brutal deaths of four white murder victims in Unity and the neighboring townships of Rowan County; and

WHEREAS, the name and ages of these victims were Issac Lyerly — 66, Augusta Barring Lyerly — 42, John H. Lyerly — 8, and Alice Lyerly — 6; and

WHEREAS, shock and despair propelled our Salisbury community towards violent action because of the overt racial hatred for and racial violence towards African Americans in the United States and locally; and

WHEREAS, the judge, bearing responsibility for this case, called in local military soldiers to maintain order, because the officials in charge of the local government and the community were either unwilling or ineffective in doing so — creating an environment which did not favor or provide due process and protection for those accused and detained; and

WHEREAS, the soldiers, being poorly led and ill equipped, failed to stop the white mob from storming the county jail the night of August 6, 1906 and abducting three accused African American males; and

WHEREAS, the names and ages of the accused were Jack Dillingham — in his late 20’s or 30’s, Lease Gillespie — 55, and his son John Gillespie — 14 or 15; who were marched to a nearby field; and

WHEREAS, the mob hung them by their necks from a tree; tortured and molested them and lastly riddled their bodies with bullets…bringing more brutal death;

WHEREAS, this horrible occurrence in our City left a gaping, unresolved harm that taints present day human interaction and stunts the growth of authentic equity and prohibit bone deep healing.

Now therefore, be it resolved, We, the City Council of Salisbury, do hereby resolve to being and participate in the reconciliation process, by apologizing for our government’s role in this atrocity and formally acknowledging the unjust lynching of the afore named African Americans in our community. We also offer our heartfelt condolences to all the descendants of those senselessly murders on July 13, 1906 by intruders and those murdered on August 6, 1906 due to the systemic and institutional violence based in racial hatred.

We must all work diligently to eradicate bias, prejudice, bigotry, violence, racism and hate; be intentional in our efforts to build fairness, open-mindedness, peace, anti-racism and love;

This the 7th day of August 2018.

 

Resolution of Reconciliation, drafted by other council members

WHEREAS, the act of reconciliation is bringing together of that which has been divided; and

WHEREAS, when a community has suffered a deep hurt, it is wise to address the harm through restorative justice; and

WHEREAS, restorative justice attempts to bring all identified stakeholders together to collectively resolve an offense and its impact on the present and the future to build empathy and understanding between the victim and the offender for each other and achieve a sense of healing by diligently and intentionally repairing the harm done to the victim, the offender and the community; and

WHEREAS, Issac Lyerly age 68, Augusta Barring Lyerly age 42, John H. Lyerly age 8, and Alice Lyerly age 6, a white family, were tragically and brutally murdered in Rowan County; and

WHEREAS, the judge, bearing responsibility for this case, called in local military soldiers to maintain order, because the officials in charge of the local government and the community were either unwilling or ineffective in doing so, thereby — creating an environment which did not favor or provide due process and protection for those accused and detained; and

WHEREAS, the soldiers, being poorly led and ill equipped, failed to stop the white mob from storming the county jail the night of August. 6, 1906 and abducting three accused African American males, Jack Dillingham in his late 20s or 30s, Lease Gillespie age 55 and his John Gillespie age 15 or 15 who were marched to a nearby field where they were horribly tortured, hung, and shot with bullets.

Now therefore, be it resolved, that the City Council of Salisbury: Hereby participates in the reconciliation process by acknowledging the unjust murder of the Lyerly family and brutal lynching of the afore-named African Americans in Rowan County and offer our heartfelt condolences to all the descendants of both families; and

Urges all citizens to work diligently to join the City Council to eradicate bias, prejudice, bigotry, violence, racism and hate so that we may build a City dedicated to fairness, open-mindedness, peace, and harmony.

This the ___ day of August 2018.

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