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The Lafayette Parish Community Remembrance Project

The History of Lynching Exhibit

The Exhibit

The History of Lynching Exhibit is on display in the foyer of Edith Garland Dupre Library from May 2023 to Aug. 2023. This display is a part of the Lafayette Parish Community Remembrance Project, in conjunction with the Equal Justice Initiative. Move the Mindset, a local organization whose focus is to educate Lafayette citizens on their shared history, organized the Lafayette Parish Community Remembrance Project and has worked with both the Equal Justice Initiative (a national organization) and the Ernest J. Gaines Center to arrange these exhibits in Lafayette.

Of the six lynching victims identified in Lafayette parish, two have been displayed in this exhibit: Ovide Belizaire and the Unknown Victim.

The History of Lynching

Excerpt from exhibit:

"Between the end of the Civil War and the end of World War II, more than 4,000 African Americans were lynched in the United States in violent and public acts of torture that traumatized black communities locally and throughout the country. The Equal Justice Initiative has documented 549 African American victims of racial terror lynching killed in Louisiana.

Of the 549 documented victims of lynching which occurred in Louisiana, six individuals, Rosemond Cormier, Rosalie Cormier, Louis Sinclair, Antone Domingue, Ovide Belizaire, and one Unnamed Individual, have been identified as victims of lynching in Lafayette Parish. The EJI Community Remembrance Project (CRP) memorializes documented victims of racial violence throughout history and fosters meaningful dialogue about race and justice today. In 2018, Move the Mindset organized the coalition of 15 organizations which comprise the Lafayette Parish Community Remembrance Project. The CRP opportunities include the Community Soil Collection Project, the Historical Marker Project, and the Racial Justice Essay Contest.

The Community Soil Collection Project commemorates and recognizes the traumatic era of racial terror by collecting soil from lynching sites. The named containers with collected soil become important pieces of our broken and terrifying past. We believe these jars represent the hope of community members who seek racial justice and a greater commitment to the rule of law and human rights.

'In this soil there is the sweat of the enslaved. In the soil there is the blood of victims of racial violence and lynching. There are tears in the soil from all those who labored under the indignation and humiliation of segregation. But in the soil there is also the opportunity for new life, a chance to grow something hopeful and healing for the future.'—Bryan Stevenson, EJI Executive Director"