Indiana Teen Fought To Honor Black Lynching Victims In Hometown—And Won

Indiana Teen Fought To Honor Black Lynching Victims In Hometown—And Won

Whereas Sophie Kloppenburg could also be younger, she already has expertise combating adversity within the title of commemorating Black historical past.

This 17-year-old particularly needed to overcome pushback whereas embarking on a mission to pay homage to 7 Black males who have been lynched in her hometown of Mount Vernon, Indiana, per the Atlanta Black Star.

Calling Consideration To Mount Vernon’s Darkish Previous

Whereas training for a driving take a look at with a household good friend, Sophie started to be taught of Mount Vernon’s troublesome historical past. Regardless of the South Indiana neighborhood being her hometown, she had by no means heard of its darkish previous.

“We received to speaking about Black historical past and every part, and he advised me in regards to the lynchings that had occurred, and I used to be clearly shocked as a result of I’ve lived right here my complete life and by no means knew that had occurred.”

Over the course of three days in October 1878, a lynch mob brutally killed 7 males—Daniel Harrison Jr., John Harrison, Daniel Harrison Sr., Jim Good, William Chambers, Edward Warner, and Jeff Hopkins. CBS stories that the killings passed off after the boys have been accused of rape. Moreover, it’s essential to notice that the mob hanged 4 of the boys outdoors of the Posey County courthouse.

As soon as she discovered this info, Sophie sought out to see if the courthouse commemorated the incident in any respect. Nonetheless, she was unable to seek out any point out of the killings, so she began a mission to alter that with a memorial.

Critics Battle To Whitewash Historical past In Posey County

Though Sophie’s pursuit to honor the lynching victims is commendable, locals didn’t precisely embrace it with open arms.

Because the neighborhood of Mount Vernon is predominately white, Sophie felt as if many weren’t too involved with the undertaking. In reality, she advised the Atlanta Black Star that she needed to attraction to the Posey County Commissioners Workplace on completely different events earlier than they agreed to see the memorial by.

Bryan Schorr, a county commissioner, addressed this by noting that the hesitance was “extra about getting the wording proper and ensuring it was correct and captured folks’s curiosity in a constructive method.

In flip, Sophie recalled among the compromises she made to show her undertaking right into a actuality.

“I needed to take out, to me, actually essential phrases like ‘lynched’ [and] ‘mobbed’…I couldn’t use these actually essential phrases as a result of it made folks too uncomfortable.”

Kloppenburg was certain to push again towards among the different edits, although.

“In addition they needed me to not embrace the phrase African American in there, and I used to be like, completely not. What’s the purpose of us placing this up there if folks don’t know this was a racially motivated homicide?”

All in all, Sophie completed her purpose, and she or he’s joyful that her neighborhood is open to “having the tough conversations.”

“I’m pleased with Posey County, Indiana, and the attractive folks right here for having the tough conversations and giving a tangible voice to its minorities. Thanks.”

Shoutout to Sophie Kloppenburg for pushing by and establishing a memorial to honor the victims of the Mount Vernon lynchings.

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