What’s Next?

Troup Together is making big plans for the coming months.  Join us at the Hillside Festival in LaGrange on Saturday, April 29.  Say hello and learn more about what we are doing in the community.

Here is an overview:  Troup Together Flyer

Join us as we move forward–seeking to build a unified future from a divided past.

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A Family Homecoming Reception

Good News!  We are pleased to announce that First Baptist Church on the Square, in partnership with other churches in the community and Troup Together, will host a Family Homecoming Reception on Saturday, March 18 to honor the families named on the historic marker we will unveil that day.  Members of these families will be our special guests.

The reception will be held at the Christian Family Life Center at First Baptist Church on the Square, 159 Church Street, LaGrange, immediately after the unveiling of the marker at Warren Temple United Methodist Church.

An informal program will begin at 3:30 PM.  The public is invited but space is limited.

Please join us in honoring these families and standing together on this special day.

The Remembrance Service will begin at Warren Temple United Methodist Church at 1 PM on Saturday, March 18.  The permanent marker will be unveiled there at the conclusion of the service.

A Ground of Sorrow

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For over a year, Troup Together has been seeking records, reports, stories and memories related to the lynching of Austin Callaway in LaGrange in September 1940.  We have been building a storehouse of information on this crime and this period in the life of Troup County and the region.  The written records tell us much of the story.  However, many questions remain.  For answers beyond the written word, we depend on the memories of the community.  Slowly, those have come too, as people have been willing to share with us what they know.  The recent official apology for the lynching spurred a number of people to come forward with new information about this crime.  For that, we are grateful.  We will continue to seek people with stories to tell.

Based on the new information, we now know the place where Austin Callaway was left to die.  We also know that a family in that area, at risk to themselves, sought to save his life.  The photo above is that place.  Today, we visited this ground for the first time.  Appropriately, it is the season of Lent, when confession and remembrance are on our minds, when we remember our own ‘grounding’ in the grief of the present world.  This ground in northwestern Troup County is a place of sorrow.  However, it is a place of hope too, for a family that lived nearby saw a bleeding stranger on this road, wrapped him up and cared for him as he died.  They did what they could.  We will share more of this story soon, including at the public memorial on March 18.  Today, though, we just pause to remember–with sorrow for the violence that took place on this ground but with gratitude too for a family that reached out to help a stranger.

A Call to Remembrance

warren-temple3On March 18, the LaGrange community will join together–to pray, reflect and remember a tragic past.  A diverse group of faith leaders will lead a service that day mourning Austin Callaway and three other African-American men who died in lynchings in Troup County.

Callaway was just one of nearly six hundred victims of lynching in Georgia between 1877 and 1950.  LaGrange will become one of the first communities in the state to acknowledge this bloody history with a permanent marker.  It will be unveiled at the end of the service.  LaGrange will also become the first community in the country in which civic leaders and faith leaders have joined in such a frank and direct public acknowledgment of the sins of racial violence in its past.

Please attend this historic event.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
1:00 PM

Warren Temple United Methodist Church

416 East Depot Street

LaGrange, Georgia

What Is Lynching?

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Singer Paul Robeson was a key figure in
the anti-lynching movement of the 1930s.

What is lynching?  Do you need some background on what lynching was and why it matters today?  Take five minutes to watch this video.

Our friends at the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) worked with artist Molly Crabapple to produce an animated video that explores the history of racial terror and lynching in the United States.  It is worth your time to watch.

http://eji.org/videos/racial-terror-lynching-america-animated

A Night Like No Other

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A full house,* a full heart. What a remarkable night!

Thank you to all who made it possible.

When Jontavious Willis got up to play, the Spirit began to move and the weight of history began to lift.

“How I got over / How did I make it over / You know my soul look back and wonder / How did I make it over … ”

And what powerful words from Mrs. Deborah Tatum on behalf of her family. Grace in a graceless age. Thank you for showing us the way!

We aren’t through yet! So much more to come! Mark your calendars for March 18, 2017. We want to fill the house again.  We invite all faith leaders in Troup County to join in an interfaith prayer service that day and the unveiling of a permanent marker to remember Austin Callaway.

Please use this space to share your reflections about this remarkable night and your hopes for our journey from here.

*Technically it was two full houses. We had an overflow room next door that was also full. (Thank you, Ark Refuge for use of your space.)

Join Us at Warren Temple

The Remembrance of Austin Callaway is Thursday at 6 PM at Warren Temple United Methodist Church in LaGrange.  Join us there for this historic occasion.

We believe this event will be one of the few times–and maybe even the first–that a local government or police department has ever apologized for a lynching in the United States.  Keep in mind:  There were over 4,000 lynchings in just the 12 Southern states between 1877 and 1950.  And these are just the ones that can be documented.  And these are just the ones in the South.

If you cannot be present, you can still join us.  The City will be live streaming at 6 PM on http://www.lgtv.org/Home/LaGrangeTV

In addition, LaGrange College will be live streaming Congressman John Lewis’s speech at http://www.lagrange.edu/lewis at 3:30 PM.

Troup Together is grateful for all who have worked to make this day possible.

Austin Callaway Remembrance Service

Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Warren Temple United Methodist Church
416 East Depot Street
LaGrange, Georgia

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Seventy-six years ago a mob in LaGrange, Georgia killed a young man named Austin Callaway.  

Six men removed him from the city jail, shot him repeatedly and left him to die on a rural road.  

The police and city never sought justice.  

In 1940, Rev. L.W. Strickland of Warren Temple said, “They have settled the matter by ignoring it.”

On January 26, 2017, that will change.

The Chief of the LaGrange Police Department will acknowledge this brutal lynching for the first time and officially apologize for LPD’s role in it.

This event is being sponsored by the LaGrange Police Department with the support of the City of LaGrange, Troup County NAACP, Warren Temple United Methodist Church, Troup Together, and LaGrange College.  Members of the family of Austin Callaway are expected to attend.