(ANNAPOLIS – August 29, 2022) – This coming Fall, the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission will hold three public hearings in pursuit of its goal of bringing to light the stories surrounding the legacy of lynching in Maryland. In 2019, the Maryland General Assembly enacted, and Governor Larry Hogan signed into law, legislation establishing the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission (MLTRC).
Sponsored by Delegate Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk, House Bill 307 tasks the Commission with researching cases of lynching, holding public hearings in communities where racial terror lynchings took place, and developing recommendations for addressing the legacy of lynching that is rooted in restorative justice. The first of its kind dedicated to investigating racial terror lynchings in the United States, the MLTRC is comprised of representatives from local historically Black colleges and universities, civil rights and other nonprofit organizations, and State agencies, and is staffed by the Office of the Attorney General.
The MLTRC’s hearing process will provide members of the public, expert witnesses, and descendants of victims and perpetrators the opportunity to offer testimony about how these murders have impacted their lives and their communities and allow them to make recommendations for advancing racial healing. The hearings will also provide an opportunity to identify and bring to light possible cases of racial terror lynching that are remembered in families and communities but for which there is little or no documentation. Members of the public may submit written testimony to the Commission directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Through these hearings, we not only are able to gain proximity to the truth but also to promote greater understanding as to how later generations were shaped by these atrocities in interpreting history and their own place in contemporary American society”, said Dr. Charles Chavis, Commission Vice-Chair and Director of African and African American Studies at George Mason University. Although initial plans were slowed by the pandemic, to date, public hearings have been held in Alleghany County and in Baltimore County. Throughout 2023, MLTRC plans to continue holding public hearings in each county with documented cases of racial terror lynchings.
Pre-registration is required for in-person attendance. Live streaming will also be able for each public hearing. Full details can be found on the MLTRC site, https://msa.maryland.gov/lynching–truth–reconciliation/.
UPCOMING HEARING DATES
- Anne Arundel County Public Hearing, Saturday, October 8, 2022, City of Annapolis Council Chambers, 160 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, MD 21401
- Wicomico County Public Hearing, Saturday, October 22, 2022, Salisbury University, Wicomico Room, 1101 Camden Avenue Salisbury, MD 21801
- Somerset County Public Hearing, Saturday, November 5, 2022, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Performing Arts Center, 11868 College Backbone Rd, Princess Anne, MD 21853
For more information on the work of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, please visit https://msa.maryland.gov/lynching–truth–reconciliation/. Press inquiries should be directed to Dr. David Fakunle, Commission Chair, at email@example.com.