BY VALADA FLEWELLYN, GUEST WRITER TO THE TIMES
ORLANDO – The Alliance for Truth and Justice invites the community to two days of events surrounding the dedication of a marker commemorating lynching victim Arthur Henry.
The initial event is a presentation in which Henry family members who left behind the racist terrorism of their family birthplace to attain a wide range of achievements will tell their stories. It will be held Tuesday, December 5 from 5 – 6:30 PM at the Shiloh Baptist Church, 604 W Jackson St, Orlando.
The following day, Wednesday, 10 AM to noon, the marker commemorating the lynching of Arthur Henry will be dedicated in a ceremony at the Wells’Built Museum complex located at 511 W South Street, Orlando. The dedication service will include remarks by local office holders, State Senator Geraldine Thompson, and representatives from the Equal Justice Initiative. Members of the Henry family will also offer their responses and local clergy, poets and musicians will participate in the dedication.
The Alliance is the Orange County based racial justice affiliate of the Equal Justice Initiative of Montgomery, AL, an organization devoted to the commemoration of lynching victims in the United States. The EJI has placed nearly 70 markers across the country in locations where those crimes had occurred. In 2020, the two organizations jointly dedicated a marker in the courtyard of the Orange County Regional Historical Museum to commemorate the lynching of July Perry in conjunction with the Election Day of 1920 Massacre in Ocoee.
The lynching of Arthur Henry, a Black man from Lake City who had come to Orlando to work in the local citrus industry, occurred five years later. He was shot in an encounter with police in his home in the Parramore neighborhood on Thanksgiving Day 1925. He was taken from his hospital room by three armed white men and his body was found 12 days later in the Conway region south of Orlando. A coroner’s jury would later report that Henry had died at the hands of “persons unknown.”
Henry was never charged with any crimes nor was anyone who participated in his kidnapping and murder. He was one of 319 persons EJI has documented to have been lynched in Florida.
Parking will be available at the lot directly across South Street from the Wells’Built Museum. Both events are free to the general public. Should inclement weather occur on the Tuesday morning event, it will also be held at the Shiloh Baptist Church.
For more information, please go to the ATJ website at https://alliancetruthjustice.org/