JUDGE

Soil Collection Ceremony in Maryland Marks 1880 Lynching

Residents of a Maryland town gathered Sunday to remember a man at the site of his lynching more than a century ago.

George Peck was born a slave in the 1850s in Montgomery County.

He was accused of attacking a white girl in 1880 but never got the chance for a trial.

“George Peck was dragged through the streets with a rope around his neck to a makeshift gallows,” said Anthony Cohen of the Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project.

The gallows was set up in a field in Poolesville.

“There in night shadows without judge or justice, George Peck was hoisted from the ground to his death,” Cohen said.

Peck never got a proper burial.

“I love this community but I’ve always known there was an undercurrent of racism in Poolesville from back in the day,” Poolesville resident Howard Copeland III said. "We just want to recognize history the way it really went down."

The Equal Justice Initiative collects soil from all the sites where people of color were lynched.

Soil was collected from the site of Peck’s lynching to be part of a special collection in Montgomery, Alabama.

“I’d like to think that today makes it so that George Peck’s death was not in vain,” Copeland said.

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