LAWRENCE, Kan. — The city of Lawrence has joined a community coalition to memorialize the lynching of three black men near downtown in 1882.
The Lawrence chapter of the NAACP is working with the Equal Justice Initiative to erect a historical marker with information about the lynching, The Lawrence Journal-World reports. The city commission recently voted unanimously to become a member of the Community Remembrance Coalition.
Mayor Lisa Larsen said she thinks joining the coalition signifies that the city supports the NAACP’s efforts.
“It’s really important for us as a community to keep in mind and remember our entire history, not just the good parts of our history,” Larsen said. “And that we recognize that although we are a community that we believe in forward thinking, at the same time we’ve got a history that we need to reckon with and that we cannot forget.”
NAACP chapter President Ursula Minor wrote in a letter to Larsen that the purpose of the coalition is to build awareness and enable truthful conversations about the legacy of racial terrorism and injustice through the historical marker project.
The Lawrence NAACP has been working on the project for several months with the goal of erecting a marker that provides information about the victims and the lynching on the bank of the Kansas River where the event occurred.
In the summer of 1882, the body of David Bausman, a white man in his mid-40s, was pulled from the Kansas river, the newspaper reported.
Three black men — Pete Vinegar, Isaac King and George Robertson — were arrested in connection with the slaying. Vinegar was never charged with a crime. Before a trial could be held, Vinegar, King and Robertson were lynched by a mob, which broke into the jail in the middle of the night.
Accounts of Bausman’s death vary, the paper reported, but seem to agree that Bausman was having sex with Vinegar’s 14-year-old daughter, Margaret, when King and Robertson came upon the scene and allegedly killed him.
Margaret, who was convicted of murder, later died in prison. She was accused of conspiring with the men to rob Bausman, although her attorney argued there was no evidence to support that.
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com