Local Group Hopes To Right A Wrong
COLUMBIA - A group Columbians want to erect a headstone monument at Columbia Cemetery for a man who was connected to a crime in the 1920's. James Scott was accused of rape and lynched before he could stand trial.
Scott was a black MU Janitor who earned honorable awards during World War I. A 2004 book called Summary Justice: The Lynching of James Scott and the Trial of George Barkwell in Columbia, Missouri documents the history of Scott's death and the man accused of the lynching's trial. The book details how Scott was arrested and identified by the victim. But Scott's defense attorney found witnesses who said the janitor was at work at the time of the crime.
A mob carried out Scott's lynching by raiding the jail and killing the suspect before the trial could take place. What happened to Scott is something Barbra Horrell thinks more people should know.
"Being a native of Columbia born and raised here as a child we heard all heard these stories," said Horrell.
Horrell and a recently created committe of other concerned Columbians wants to give Scott a proper burial and headstone.
"Everyone deserves dignity in death as much as in living the man worked the man supposedly was on his way home when they got him," said Horrell.
Along with trying to get Scott a new headstone, Scott Wilson is working to get Scott's death certificate changed. Wilson wants to get the words committed rape removed, there will be a line explaining that he was never convicted or given trial.
Wilson hopes to get the death certificate changed by April. That is the anniversary of Scott's lynching.
Scott is buried at Columbia Cemetery which is just a few miles from the intersection of Providence and Steward Roads where he was lynched. He is also buried just yards away from the man, George Barkwell, who was accused of the lynching.