123 years, 4 months, and 5 days ago, a white mob abducted one black woman and two black men, tied them to stakes in a nearby field, and mercilessly shot them in Travis County, Texas. At the time, the media indicated that the three victims were "very likely" innocent of any crimes, as if a guilty verdict justified vigilantism, but the perpetrators did not receive punishment for their actions.
On December 16, 2017, approximately 250 individuals, including Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder, Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, and U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, commemorated the three deaths in Wesley United Methodist Church. Following the service, the crowd gathered in the freezing rain as representatives unveiled the "Lynching in Travis County" plaque displayed in front of the East Austin church.
The Travis County lynching was one of 4,743 in the U.S. between 1882 and 1968. Accordingly, efforts are being made across the country to install similar plaques to remind us that racial terror has consequences. "We have to own this and make the city better," Linder said at the memorial. This weekend, Austin did just that. This weekend, it took a step towards righting over a century of wrongs.