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Maryland lynchings are getting attention they deserve | READER COMMENTARY

At least 44 men in Maryland and thousands nationwide lost their lives to lynchings. Now activists are shining a light on the gruesome practice hoping to start an honest and healing conversation. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun video)

We applaud David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun for drawing attention to Jacqueline Olive’s powerful and disturbing film, “Always in Season," and to its timely and profoundly important message (“PBS documentary takes a hard-eyed, illuminating look at history and legacy of lynchings," Feb. 21).

The Equal Justice Initiative documented more than 4,400 racial terror lynchings in this country between Reconstruction and the end of World War II. The Maryland Lynching Memorial Project believes no fewer than 41 of these murders were committed in our state between 1854 and 1933.

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There is no doubt that the legacy of lynching continues to grip our national psyche and that we have no hope of breaking its grip until we confront the truth about this depraved part of our history. Last year, Maryland took a leading role in confronting this history with the creation of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first of its kind in the nation.

As Sherrilyn Ifill notes in her seminal work, “On the Courthouse Lawn,” “the project of reconciliation at its core demands of individuals and communities the willingness to acknowledge painful truths and to take responsibility for injustice.”

For those willing to accept this responsibility, Ms. Olive’s film is a good place to start.

Will Schwarz, Towson

The writer is president of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, Inc.

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