Home City City Council discusses honoring 1880s man lynched by white mob

City Council discusses honoring 1880s man lynched by white mob

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Mayor Steve Patterson at Monday's City Council committee meeting. Photo by Emily Zeiler.

City Council discussed plans Monday to place a memorial marker at the site where Christopher Davis, a black man, was lynched by a white mob in 1881.

Davis was accused of the rape and assault of a white woman, and before he was given a trial, he was broken out of jail and killed.

The Equal Justice Initiative, an organization that fights racial inequality, agreed to help fund a memorial plaque after a previous event in Davis’ honor was held last September, according to The Athens NEWS.

The historical marker will be placed at the site — near the intersection of West Mulberry Street and South Court Street, according to the meeting’s agenda. Another ceremony is expected to be held in Davis’ honor, but its date has not been determined.

Mayor Steve Patterson urged councilmembers to attend the event.

Dominic Detwiler, a public policy strategist from Equality Ohio —an organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights —presented to the council about Ohio HB 369, also known as the Ohio Fairness Act, which advocates for LGBTQ rights.

If passed, the legislation would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual identity and gender identity or expression. 

“Twenty-five cities in Ohio, one of those being Athens, have these protections in place,” Detwiler said as he asked the council to draft a resolution in support of this legislation. 

“It reaffirms council’s commitment to protecting the LGBT folks in southeastern Ohio and across the state,” Detwiler said.

The first reading of the resolution will be Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the next full-body council meeting. 

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