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Maryland Lynching Memorial Project to hold forum on Baltimore County lynchings

The Baltimore County coalition of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project will hold a virtual forum Jan. 23 on two racial terror lynchings in Baltimore County, reviewing the historic narrative surrounding racial terror lynchings and a discussion about why it is vital to change it.

The county-based Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, a nonprofit founded by Towson-based filmmaker Will Schwarz in 2018, focuses on dignifying the lives of those who were killed because of racist violence, recognizing the local impact of that racial terror and advancing reconciliatory efforts.

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The memorial project also includes branches in 14 of the 18 Maryland counties in which Black residents were lynched, Schwarz said.

“We have to face and acknowledge the truth before reconciliation is possible,” Schwarz said. “Part of that is owning up to the history, [but] you have to include an understanding of how this legacy of white supremacy continues to [manifest] itself today.”

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In Baltimore County, two Black residents are known to have been lynched: 15-year-old Howard Cooper and William Ramsay, about whom records are scarce, Schwarz said.

The county coalition is nearing plans to honor Cooper with a marker to be installed in the spring at the old Towson jailhouse on Bosley Avenue, where Cooper was briefly imprisoned.

The forum will review what is known about Cooper and Ramsay, and will include speakers Shanedra Nowell, assistant professor of secondary education at Oklahoma State University, who has written an education book on how to teach about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre; Charles Chavis, director for the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice and Race at George Mason University; and County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr.

The forum will be start at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Those who want to attend can register for free at https://mdlynchingmemorial.networkforgood.com/events/26156-lynching-in-baltimore-county.

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