The Gwinnett Remembrance Coalition, in partnership with the City of Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, the Gwinnett Historical Restoration & Preservation Board, and the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) of Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated a historical marker honoring the memory of Charles Hale. Mr. Hale, an African American resident of Gwinnett County, was lynched in 1911 in Lawrenceville Square.
The Historical Marker Dedication Ceremony took place virtually on Saturday, January 15, 2022. The program included a short memorial service, a dedication ceremony, and statements from Mr. Hale’s family and local elected officials from Gwinnett County and the City of Lawrenceville. This service included the announcement by an EJI representative of the winners of a racial justice essay contest for students in Gwinnett County public high schools.
The ceremony followed a June 2021 event in which soil was collected near the spot where Mr. Hale was lynched. Jars containing this soil were be displayed in Gwinnett County and at EJI’s Legacy Museum in Montgomery.The historical marker is located on the west side of Lawrenceville square. The ceremony can be viewed at https://gwinnett-remembrance.weebly.com/charles-hale-historical-marker-dedication.html
The Gwinnett Remembrance Coalition is a diverse group of concerned Gwinnett residents who have come together to memorialize local victims of racial terror lynchings and to educate the Gwinnett community about this dark chapter in our county’s history.
“Mr. Hale’s life was callously taken during a time when the weight of injustice and racism bore a heavy burden on people of color – specifically black residents,” said Gwinnett County Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson. “It is an honor to partner with the city of Lawrenceville and these essential community organizations to commemorate Mr. Hale’s life, while celebrating just how far we’ve come as a county.”
“History, both good and bad, has a way of shaping who we are as a community,” said District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque. “And from this moment forward, future generations will know that Gwinnettians came together to memorialize a victim of a dark injustice in our county’s history. Mr. Hale’s marker is not only a symbol of reflection, but also helps ensure his story remains at the heart of our community.”
“Mr. Hale’s marker will serve a symbol of remembrance and acknowledgment of tragic events in our history but also represents our community joining together in hope and faith to educate current and future generations,” said Mayor David Still. “The city of Lawrenceville is honored to work with Gwinnett County and engaged community organizations seeking to preserve and ensure the constitutional rights of every person who lives, works, or visits our city. All must be respected and protected.”
“Confronting our history is painful, but doing so is essential if we are to learn from the past and move beyond it,” said Ray Harvin, Chair of the Gwinnett Remembrance Coalition. “Our silence about this history allows the legacy of racist violence and injustice to continue to poison our community in ways that harm us all. Only by coming together to acknowledge past wrongs can we ensure that these wrongs are not repeated.”