The Volusia Remembers Coalition invites you to attend a virtual ceremony to celebrate the life and mourn the unjust death of Lee Snell, a Volusia County victim of racial-terror lynching on April 29, 1939.
The event will take place via Zoom at noon Saturday, Feb. 27. To take part, register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_apOU_qkmRIS3m-COxmTuvg
Registrants will receive an email with more information.
Those attending the Zoom event will learn about the interesting life and tragic death of Snell, a World War I veteran, Daytona Beach taxi driver, AME church member and family man.
The Volusia Remembers Coalition believes it is important to remember the victims of racial-terror lynching, as we seek reconciliation and justice for the future. The story will be told with artistic expression and historical truth-telling, and will involve leaders from across Volusia County as well as representatives from the local coalition’s national partners at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.
As is the practice of the Equal Justice Initiative, the Volusia Remembers Coalition will end the ceremony by collecting a sample of the soil from the site where Snell was lynched. The soil will be placed in two glass jars marked with Snell’s name and the date of his death.
One jar will be displayed at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery. The other will be displayed at an appropriate place in Volusia County. These modest memorials will honor Snell, whose death by lynching while in police custody denied him due process and equal protection under the law.
“I am not interested in punishing America with this history,” Equal Justice Initiative founder (and best-selling author of Just Mercy) Bryan Stevenson stated “I want to liberate us. I think we have never truly sought truth and reconciliation. We are not going to be free, really free, until we pursue that.”
Volusia Remembers is a broad coalition of community leaders and Volusia County residents. The local group offered the following statement: “We would all rather forget the ugly and painful parts of our history — which includes five racial-terror lynchings in our county during the Jim Crow period. But honestly facing our untreated wounds is the first step toward understanding and resolving our present racial divisions. So, we invite our fellow Volusians to join us virtually on this uncomfortable but unifying journey. Let’s heal our history.”
In that vein of “restorative truth-telling,” Volusia Remembers will continue in the coming years to hold similar memorials for the victims of four other well-documented Volusia County lynchings from that era, namely: Lee Bailey (1891), Anthony Johnson (1892), Charles Harris (1896) and Herbert Brooks (1920).
This initiative will uncover, for Volusia County residents, an uncomfortable vein of their history which many would rather forget. But remembering this hard history has a positive purpose: Volusia Remembers is already seeing honest racial dialogue develop between communities that were deeply divided by such atrocities.
In coming years, the Volusia Remembers Coalition hopes to partner with the Equal Justice Initiative and Volusia County to install historical markers with information about these victims and the era of Jim Crow injustice.
A replica of the Volusia County monument on display at the National Memorial will also be placed at an appropriate spot in the county.
To learn more or make a donation to support our work, engage with Volusia Remembers Coalition via its website at www.volusiaremembers.org, or the national organization’s website at www.eji.org; via email to email@example.com, or on Facebook.
— This news item was submitted by Daisy Grimes, ceremonies chair of Volusia Remembers, along with Evan Keller, the group’s communications chair, and Grady Ballenger, its co-chair.