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Memorializing Racially-Motivated Deaths Beyond Lynchings

Visitors at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala. The memorial includes some 800 markers, one for each county in the U.S. where lynchings took place, documenting the killings of more than 4,400 individuals between 1877 and 1950
Beth J. Harpaz
/
AP Photo
Visitors at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala. The memorial includes some 800 markers, one for each county in the U.S. where lynchings took place, documenting the killings of more than 4,400 individuals between 1877 and 1950

From the late 1800s through the middle of the 20th century, lynchings were a widespread form of racial violence against African-Americans in the southern United States. 

WUNC military reporter Jay Price retraces the story of one of Private Booker T. Spicely was shot and killed by a Durham bus driver after he complained about having to move to the back of the bus.

A new memorial in Alabama honors and memorializes those who died at the hands of brutal lynch mobs. But many racially-motivated killings during that time were not officially lynchings.

WUNC military reporter Jay Price retraces the story of one of those cases. Private Booker T. Spicely was shot and killed by a Durham bus driver after he complained about having to move to the back of the bus. The incident came more than a decade before Rosa Parks would protest staying in her seat. Price revisits this piece of Durham history with host Frank Stasio and reflects on the risk of letting these stories fade with time.

Copyright 2018 North Carolina Public Radio

Military and Veterans Affairs Reporter, North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC
Frank Stasio
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Laura Pellicer
Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things (hyperlink), a show that explores North Carolina through conversation. Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards. Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.