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News and Past Events

Cobb African American Policy Forum, June 2024

On Juneteenth, CCRC was invited to speak at the Cobb African American Policy Forum held at Jim Miller Park. Hosted by Cobb County Commission Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, the forum featured a panel discussion about policies that impact the county’s African American youth. Coalition member, Atty. Mark L. Bryce, relayed the story of Mr. John Bailey, framing his 1900 lynching in the context of African American history and life in Cobb County. Bev Jackson, a coalition leader, shared CCRC’s purpose and relevancy to the community. The presentation was well received and garnered interest and additional support from constituents who attended.

Citigroup’s Juneteenth Celebration, June 2024

In keeping with Citigroup’s commitment to diversity and social justice, CCRC members addressed an audience of more than 40 Atlanta corporate employees on Juneteenth. The coalition was invited by the company’s Black Heritage Network to share the story of Mr. John Bailey. The Coalition also discussed its partnership with the Montgomery, Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative. Attendees were encouraged to engage, ask questions and support CCRC as we truthfully acknowledge the undeniably difficult truths surrounding Bailey’s lynching.

Juneteenth Cultural Festival, June 2024

CCRC shared John Bailey’s story with community members at the NAACP’s Juneteenth Cultural Festival on Marietta Square, June 15, 2024. The CCRC was one of more than 100 sponsoring vendors and community groups represented at the all-day celebration. Coalition members were helped throughout the day by family, friends and volunteers from Cobb County fraternities and sororities. Dozens of passersby stopped by our exhibit to engage, converse and learn. Nearly 50 attendees signed up to join our mailing list.

Candlelight Vigil, March 2024

On March 20, 2024, at Temple Kol Emeth, CCRC hosted and celebrated a Candlelight Vigil in memory of John Bailey, a Black man living in Cobb County who was lynched on March 18, 1900, and subsequently died two days later. Joined by community members, history buffs, civic leaders, faith leaders, members of Cobb’s Black Panhellenic organizations, and renowned musical artists, CCRC gathered to commemorate Mr. Bailey’s life.

Following a welcome by Rabbi Emeritus Steven Lebow of Temple Kol Emeth, attendees were greeted by Cobb County Commission Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, who reminded us that in remembering and acknowledging our past, Cobb County can move toward a brighter future. CCRC members shared our mission and described our partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, founded by Bryan Stevenson. EJI’s work centers on criminal justice reform, racial justice, anti-poverty, and public education in addition to maintaining EJI’s Legacy Sites in Montgomery, AL.

CCRC then shared the story of Mr. John Bailey and his brutal lynching on the Marietta Square, his grievous injuries, and his 56 hours of suffering in a cell before succumbing to those injuries on March 20, 1900. As the gathered community sat with the impact of Mr. Bailey’s story, Dr. Oral Moses, renowned bass baritone, performed a moving a cappella rendition of Poor Pilgrim of Sorrow, simultaneously comforting and convicting the hearts of all in attendance.

Reflecting on the way Dr. Moses’s words touched his heart, Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady delivered the keynote address. District Attorney Broady reminded us of the thread that weaves its way through racial issues, poverty, and mass incarceration. DA Broady reminded us that when we learn to seek truth and value diversity, communities where intolerance once found a comfortable home can become places of progress and light.

Inspired by DA Broady’s words that we should be beacons of light, we moved into the vigil portion of the event. As the Temple lighting dimmed, hundreds of candles were lit. Standing together in the glow of candlelight, we heard these words inscribed at the National Memorial for Justice (one of EJI’s Legacy Sites):

For the hanged and beaten.
For the shot, drowned, and burned.
For the tortured, tormented, and terrorized.
We will remember.
With hope because hopelessness is the enemy of justice.
With courage because peace requires bravery.
With persistence because justice is a constant struggle.
With faith because we shall overcome.

Our evening ended as the crowd sang in unison Lift Every Voice and Sing and we were dismissed with a blessing that we be granted a restless discomfort with easy answers, a holy anger at injustice, the gift of tears to shed for those who suffer, and enough foolishness to believe we can make a difference in the world.

Legacy Road Trip, February 2024

CCRC traveled to the Equal Justice Initiative’s (EJI) Legacy Sites in Montgomery, AL. In addition to the astonishing Legacy Museum, the trip included a stop at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, where 800 steel pillars hang – each representing a county in America where a lynching occurred. A pillar for Cobb County is there and on it the name of John Bailey is inscribed.

Wes McCoy, a CCRC founding member, described the group’s experience best by saying, “The legacy experience is one where you encounter history in great detail…and being with a group invites discussion about that experience through the lens of our personal histories”.

CCRC members were able to meet with EJI staff and share their current work and plans for the future. The feedback, advice and support from this powerful partner was invaluable. As one team member said, “The meeting gave us a great feeling of confidence that we were doing things the right way. In addition, EJI’s assurance that they were going to be with us at every step gave us confidence”.

Leo Frank Road Trip, October 2023

CCRC team members joined Rabbi Steven Lebow at the Leo Frank Historical Marker in Marietta, GA. Rabbi Lebow shared the terrifying story of Mr. Frank’s trial, incarceration and lynching. The team learned how community growth required moving the marker to a new location. This trip was a powerful lesson in maintaining a memorial over time and the challenges of this work. The marker was first placed in 2008 then moved in 2018.

Roswell Road Trip, July 2023

CCRC took its first road trip and visited the Mack Henry Brown historical marker in Roswell, GA. Meeting with the North Fulton Remembrance Coalition, CCRC learned the shocking details of this missing person-turned-lynching story. North Fulton Coalition leaders explained how their painstaking, detailed work unearthed Brown’s story and allowed them to successfully engage local community members and officials. Partnering with the Equal Justice Initiative, the Coalition placed Mr. Brown’s marker in 2021.

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