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Ceremony remembers lynchings ahead of Juneteenth

Posted at 3:35 PM, Jun 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-18 16:04:16-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Ahead of Juneteenth, Palm Beach County is remembering and acknowledging racial lynchings that plagued our country’s past.

The Palm Beach County Community Remembrance Project hosted a soil collection ceremony on Saturday to remember Mr. Sam Nelson, who was lynched on September 27, 1926.

Historians said Nelson was one of two lynchings that took place in Palm Beach County.

According to the Spady Museum, he was being held in the Delray Beach jail on a charge of attempted assault of a white woman in Miami.

The next morning, the steel door of his cell was found battered open and his body was found filled with bullets on a canal bank just west of Delray Beach.

A few weeks ago, soil was collected from the area where historians believe Nelson’s body was found.

“It’s not something that we are proud of,” said Robert Weinroth, Palm Beach County Mayor. “We need to remember it. We need to tell our children what happened, so it’s never repeated again.

Juneteenth ceremony

County leaders said they hope the soil collection ceremony brings awareness and understanding to the community that this is something that we can never tolerate again

“Racial lynchings have never really been acknowledged, examined, and addressed by our communities,” said Charlene Farringon, Executive Director for the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum. “Much like a physical wound to the body, it will not heal unless it is aired out, examined, it is talked about, and we all come to a consensus that this is the sort of thing that we will never allow again to happen within our communities.”

The ceremony serves as a funeral, something these terrorized victims never received.

“This is about an acknowledgment of a wrong that was done,” said Bryan Boysaw, Chair of the Palm Beach County Community Remembrance Project. “The soil collection symbolizes the process of helping discover and create a discussion in Palm Beach County about the ideas of racial terror lynchings.”

The soil was put into jars and will be put on display in the Spady Museum and other sites across Palm Beach County.