New Historical Markers Show Where Lynchings Took Place In Davidson County | Nashville Public Radio

New Historical Markers Show Where Lynchings Took Place In Davidson County

Jun 19, 2019

Two historical markers now stand where lynchings took place in downtown Nashville during the 1800s.

They’re the first such markers in the city. They were unveiled as a part of Juneteenth, which commemorates the abolition of slavery.

One of the new signs tells the story of the Grizzard brothers, who were two black men accused of assaulting two white women near Goodlettsville. Both men were killed without trials by white mobs in 1892.

The other details the lynchings of David Jones, also in 1892, and Jo Reed, in 1895. All four men were killed after staying in the Davidson County jail. 

“Despite the duty of law enforcement to provide custodial protection, the jail was a repeated site of lynching and violence that devastated the African American community," said Tennessee State University professor Lee Williams, who read the narrative to a crowd of local officials, advocates and African American community leaders.

The signs are placed by the Cumberland River, near where the jail once stood. 

Two nonprofits — We Remember Nashville and the Montgomery, Ala.-based Equal Justice Initiative — organized and funded the markers. The Equal Justice Initiative has counted six lynchings in Davidson county between 1877 and 1950, according to its latest report.