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

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

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

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 practising for a driving take a look at with a household good friend, Sophie started to study 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 acquired to speaking about Black historical past and all the pieces, 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 experiences that the killings happened after the boys have been accused of rape. Moreover, it’s vital to notice that the mob hanged 4 of the boys exterior 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 search out any point out of the killings, so she began a mission to alter that with a memorial.

Critics Combat 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 challenge. The truth is, she advised the Atlanta Black Star that she needed to enchantment to the Posey County Commissioners Workplace on completely different events earlier than they agreed to see the memorial by way of.

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 manner.

In flip, Sophie recalled a number of the compromises she made to show her challenge right into a actuality.

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

Kloppenburg was positive to push again towards a number of the different edits, although.

“Additionally 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 aim, and she or he’s blissful that her neighborhood is open to “having the tough conversations.”

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

Sophie Kloppenburg, 17, of Mount Vernon, Indiana, helped give seven Black males who have been victims of the state’s largest recorded lynching a memorial 144 years after their ugly fates.

— Atlanta Black Star (@ATLBlackStar) November 19, 2022

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

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