by Julia Wright
For the first time in our literary history, we read in Black Boy, chapter 2, of a lynching – the disappearance of Uncle Silas Hoskins – seen through the eyes of a child.
For the first time in our literary history , a Black man, whose lynching in 1916 has remained a cold case for 106 years and who happens to be Richard Wright’s favorite uncle, will at last be memorialized at the National Lynching Museum.
Because she was covid-prevented, Julia Wright, the executor of Mr Wright’s literary estate, had to witness via zoom the traditional soil-collecting part of the memorialization that took place in Elaine Arkansas on April 22nd.
Dr Mary Olson, co-Director of the Elaine Legacy Center and James White, Program Director of the ELC, decided to place the 12 children of the descendants of the 1919 Black Massacre in Elaine in charge of the soil collection.Watching these young hands collect the soil in full awareness of what they were doing, moved Ms Wright to decide to fund their trip to the National Lynching Museum so that they could deliver the jar into Mr Bryan Stevenson’s hands. At the Richard Wright family’s request, Mr Stevenson accepted to receive the children.
The meeting will take place on August 3rd 2022.
In Elaine, on September 30th, there will be a National Homecoming for Silas Hoskins and the unnamed massacred in 1919.
The descendants’ children, aged 12 to 17, live in Elaine – a town still rural and economically depressed since the Black Massacre of 1919 which was sparked for the same reasons as the lynching of Silas Hoskins three years before : white financial envy of Black economic independence.In spite of the present economic odds, thanks to the ELC, Elaine is becoming the hub of a memorialization and resiliency renewal with a museum and a Richard Wright Civil Rights Center.
The Wright family has expressed its deep gratitude to Mr Stevenson not only for the memorialization of their lynched relative but for spending time with the children of a historical racial massacre who are aware, as they go back to school, that these slaughters are still going on.