Touching Memorial Service Held to Honor Black Women Who Were Lynched

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Event coordinator Iya Marilyn Kai Jewett hosted an event titled In Remembrance of Our Sisters 150 Black Women Who Were Lynched in the US Between 1870-1957.


By Yolanda Spivey

Despite the inclement weather, the memorial to honor the 150 documented lynchings of Black women during the 19th and 20th centuries proceeded as scheduled on March 30 in Philadelphia, PA.

The event, titled “In Remembrance of Our Sisters: 150 Black Women Who Were Lynched in the U.S. Between 1870-1957,” brought out 25 attendees — including men, women, and children.

Iya Marilyn Kai Jewett, one of the event organizers, had planned to postpone the ceremony the night before due to the poor weather but decided against it. “Rain didn’t stop those  people from lynching us!” she said.

The event brought people in from all over the United States.  One attendee traveled all the way from New York City.  Although she missed the beginning of the event, she was happy to be there.

Nnamdi Azikiwe, co-organizer of the event, stated “There were people that came there but didn’t know the whole details on what we were presenting to them. Once Kai (Jewett) explained to them why we were there, they were amazed. There are people who know that this atrocity happened and then there are people who don’t know.”

Both Jewett and Azikiwe said that it felt as if a burden or weight had been lifted off of them.

Jewett stated, “At the end we all felt uplifted. As we prayed to heal our lynched sisters, we too were healed.” She continued: “It had stopped raining, but poured when we began calling the names, like the Angels were crying!”

Some event attendees even suggested that the libation ceremony be held annually.  For now, Jewett thinks this is a good idea and is considering it. “The people stated we should do this every year so the last Sunday in March we are going to do this and next time we are going to do this all over the country,” she said.

Jewett told Your Black World that as they prayed to heal the women who were lynched, the crowd of people in turn was being healed too.  She said, “The rituals to heal our communities need to be done. Many are hurting. We all agree that this is the beginning of a new spiritual awakening and awareness of our Ancestral traditions.  Performing these rituals are very important for the survival and healing of African American communities in America.”

The event organizers thanked Your Black WorldWURD radio listeners, and the Westside Weekly who broadcasted the event to its readers and listeners.

Below is footage from the event showing the end of the ceremony where the reading of the names of the 150 women were taking place.  Viewing it is quite emotional.

Video courtesy of TransAtlantic Productions.

Yolanda Spivey writes on a variety of topics and is the founder of Black Insurance News. She can be reached at or  you can visit her Facebook page.


  1. Aisha

    April 5, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I attended this event and I am so thankful for the organizers, WURD radio station, and the many hours of research that was done to make sure our beloved sisters and children had a proper home going celebration. I cried to heal their wounds. I am proud as a people to know that we are never forgotten and will continue to RISE, RISE,RISE.

    Enough respect for the Queens and Kings

  2. Lilian Okosi

    April 5, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I am so touched today, I respect and honor all our Queens that had died a painful death to Liberate us, they will forever be Remembered!!!.

  3. SweetTweet

    April 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Congratulations to all who assisted in this ceremony honoring our dear sisters.

  4. aleximaq

    April 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    This is just too wonderful…I am so glad the event was held and that awareness has been brought to this matter.

  5. Barbara

    April 5, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    If you continue the event year after year, it will grow with many others becoming aware and participating. I think it should be done the last week of Black History Month–FEBRUARY.

    It’s good to see Black women talking more about our Sisters history in this country.

    • Wiser

      April 8, 2014 at 11:02 am

      No it should not be done in “FEBRUARY” simply because of BHM. Black history occurs every month not just the designed month of February.

      March is Women’s History Month (WHM) and an excellent month to host the event to honour and acknowledge such significant and courageous ancestral women.

      The ideal thing would be to eventually have dedication ceremonies in additional states, simultaneously.

  6. Darlene Lee

    April 6, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    This is a well-written article by Ms. Yolanda Spivey- not too long, not too short,to the point, inspiring and not just a piece of filler as an excuse for a bunch of ads. Congrats and thanks to Sister Aisha who was one of the attendees of this event. As other commenters pointed out, if she and those who didn’t make it this year, promote this event next year, it will grow and grow. Those of us who have made it to the 21st Century, owe a debt of gratitude to those who have gone before, who have shown the utmost courage and made the ultimate sacrifice for what is right and just. If these women could risk being hung from trees, the least we can do is to attend an assembly to keep their stories and lessons alive, inclement weather or not. Let everyone who reads this article- Black, Red, Brown, Yellow, White, Female, Male, Religious, Non-Religious- hold our heads up high, stand up for and speak out for what should be- until the day that we leave this Life. If we do this, a change will come like no other that has ever been seen before.

    • Yolanda Spivey

      April 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks Darlene Lee!!!

  7. Frank

    April 7, 2014 at 1:44 am

    I agree with Barbara, great IDEA!!!

  8. godfather05

    April 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    This should be replicated in every state in the United States and Europe. Most young blacks do not know their history and Black History is still eliminated from the history books. Sorry to report that whites do not know anything about black history and they do not want to know. If the story is never told no one will ever know.

  9. Lester L. Washington, BTH, MA, ABD

    April 8, 2014 at 4:02 am

    If you have read Lillian Smiths book Killers of the Dream. and others, 150 is a good starting number but its more like 150,000. That includes field lynching, worked to death while carrying babies, lynched, burned, gang raped, and the like. OMG, WHEN GOD/ YHVH REPAYS THIS NATION BY HIS HANDS!! THIS WORLD FOR WHAT WAS DONE!!


  10. Adowa

    April 8, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I would love to learn more about these sisters. Where can I get more info? Is there anything published? I commend the organizers. Wish I had known, I wld have been there.

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