The lynching of George Scott was a front page event in the Clay County Enterprise on Dec. 15, 1880, and in the Terre Haute Weekly Gazette, on Dec. 16, 1880.

Scott had been accused of raping a white farmer’s wife in Brazil, and a vividly detailed story was published in the papers regarding the alleged events of the crime.

Dr. Crystal Mikell Reynolds, a local historian and writer, contacted Brazil Mayor Brian Wyndham about her belief that a marker is needed to remember the atrocity that befell Scott that day.

Wyndham said Monday that he plans to speak with County Commissioner Paul Sinders about how they can share this historical event with the community.

“I’m on board with doing something,” he said.

He said he doesn’t see a problem with funding, but also doesn’t expect a big monument. Instead, he said, a smaller plaque or a presentation of documents and newspaper articles from that time, inside the courthouse, might be appropriate.

“He wasn’t given due process,” Wyndham said, pointing out that some level of mob mentality still exists today in society.

The Brazil incident wasn’t as gruesome, he said, as the George Ward lynching that occurred in Terre Haute in Feb. 26, 1901.

That brutal killing is remembered in a marker placed in September 2021, that was in part thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, based in Montgomery, Ala., Reynolds said.

Wyndham plans on gathering ideas from the local community, on how best to remember Scott.

“I want to talk to the commissioners, to see what their feelings are on it,” Wyndham said, because they are the decision makers for anything placed at the courthouse.

The courthouse is an appropriate location for any memorial, he said, because that is the supposed location of the lynching.

At that time, Reynolds said, the old jail stood in close proximity to the courthouse, and the lynching took place in a nearby Oak tree.

She added that 4,770 African-Americans were lynched, mostly men and a few women, in a period that stretched from 1880-1920. These deaths were usually associated with some alleged offense against a white woman.

The Terre Haute marker, and also a remembrance of Scott, aren’t just about a historical event, Reynolds said.

“We want to put up a marker to remember that person,” she said, but also, “to bring awareness, to make peace and to also make this a better world.”
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