Midway community hopes to remember 100 year old lynching victim with marker

MIDWAY, Ky (WTVQ) – On Saturday, a vigil was held in Midway in honor of a Woodford County black man who was a lynching victim, 100 years ago.

Gracie Caldwell is the great great great niece of that victim of racial injustice, Richard W. James .

In 1921, he was kidnapped from by a white mob and hung from a tree outside the city of Versailles.

His place of death is unmarked, something Kentucky State University freshman, Micah Lynn and his community activists hope to change.

Last year Lynn was taking senior pictures in downtown Frankfort.

Shortly after he learned that the location was the site of two lynchings.

“That really affected me because there was nothing to indicate that that was a site that should’ve been a site of remembrance,” says Lynn.

After doing a little research, he found two others had happened, near the same area of his home town in midway.

“I had no clue that this horrific stuff had happened right here in this town that I live in,” says Lynn.

Saturday marked the 100th anniversary of James’ death.

With the help of his community and black community leaders like Milan Bush, Midway set up a vigil at Richard W. James’ resting place.

Bush says there’s future intention to make a marker for him at the location where he was hung.

“There was a lot of rich history that is missing as a part of the whole history of America and that is not really recognized there’s a lot of people who know the information but its not publicly recognized,” says Bush.

At the service, county leaders signed off on a proclamation making March 13th a specific day of remembrance for James in the Commonwealth.

His great great niece, Caldwele received a certificate commemorating the day.

“It’s hard seeing your kids go out and not knowing if they are going to come back or not you never know because they’re so much going on in this world,” says Caldwele.

Despite taking more than a lifetime to create, a marker for Richard W. James if made, it will last forever.

James is buried in the Sons and Daughters of Relief Cemetery in Midway

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