Traveling art exhibit will honor lynching victims in South Carolina

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ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA)- Anderson County has identified five lynching victims from its past from years ago.

Now, the county is remembering them with a traveling sculpture.

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The process of bringing light to such a dark time started back in the Summer of 2020.

Naming these five lynching victims was just the beginning, the Anderson Area Remembrance and Reconciliation Initiative (AARRI) led the way.

“There was Rubin Elrod in Piedmont, a town in Anderson County. There was Edward Sullivan in Williamston which is another town. There was Elbert Harris who was here in the city jail at the time. There was John Ladison who was out toward the lake, and there was Willis Jackson in Hoena Path,” said coordinator of AARRI, Stuart Sprague.

Since then, the organization has been honoring the victims and teaching people about the history of slavery in Anderson.

“It’s not about finger pointing or any kind of retribution or whatever. It’s simply to say, this is what happened,” Sprague said.

Now, that history lesson is about to become a piece of art.

Local artist Herman Keith, is now creating a sculpture representing the 5 victims, that will travel around the county in 2022.

“To design something that’s healing, it’s not casting blame or trying to shame any particular race or group, but just to like remember and show reverence for life,” Keith said.

Keith says he’s thrilled for everyone to see the display.

His desire is that it’s a beacon of hope.

“Think about how far we’ve come. We probably have a long way to go. I kind of live under a philosophy that everything is healing. You can’t help but heal. The world is evolving, and as we evolve, humanity is evolving,” Keith said.

The sculpture is going to be moved five times to honor those five lynching victims.

The locations have not been revealed yet.

County leaders say once the sculpture has moved five times, they will pick a location for it to stay permanently.

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