The National Memorial for Peace & Justice in Montgomery - Lynching Victim Memorial
June 6, 2022 – The Salt Lake County Community Remembrance Coalition of Sema Hadithi
African American Heritage & Culture Foundation in collaboration and Partnership with
the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama will host a soil collection ceremony (raciallynchinginutah.org) at the sites of two racial lynchings that occurred in Salt Lake City in 1866 and
1883. The event will take place on Saturday, June 11 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
As members of the Sema Hadithi Foundation, University of Utah professors Paul Reeve
and James Tabery will gather with local African American leaders and Utah elected
officials at the locations of the murders of Thomas Coleman (1866) and William ("Sam Joe") Harvey (1883) to hold a memorial ceremony and collect soil from the sites.
The soil will be put into jars and sent to The National Memorial for Peace & Justice
in Montgomery, AL to be displayed alongside the soil of other lynching victims across
the United States.
The public is invited to gather at 10 a.m. on Capitol Hill on the south steps, near
where Coleman was murdered. Afterwards, there will be a march down the hill to the
site where Harvey was murdered at the corner of 100 S. and State Street.
Along with working to organize the event, Reeve and Tabery have created a digital exhibit with the U’s J. Willard Marriott Library to provide more information about the lives
and murders of Coleman and Harvey. In collaboration with Anna Neatrour, digital initiatives
librarian, the website also provides maps and newspaper reports of the murders from
About Coleman and Harvey
Born in Mississippi in 1833, Coleman was murdered in Salt Lake City at the age of
35 outside the Arsenal building, near where the Utah State Capitol now sits. The circumstances
surrounding his murder are murky, although he was accused of having a relationship
with a white woman. Beaten and stabbed repeatedly with his own knife, Coleman’s murderer(s)
were never discovered or even seriously sought by the local criminal justice system.
In 1883, a white mob of up to 2,000 people gathered in front of the city jail in Salt
Lake City and brutally hanged Harvey in a violent and public spectacle lynching, and
then dragged his body down State Street. Harvey had been arrested and jailed after
he was accused of shooting and killing the city’s police chief, but was lynched before
he could stand trial. After his lynching, despite known police complicity and thousands
of mob participants and spectators, no one was held accountable for his murder.