VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) — A marker identifying the location of one of the most gruesome lynchings in Georgia history has once again been vandalized.
The Mary Turner and the Lynching Rampage historical marker was riddled with bullet holes for the second time in five years, The Valdosta Daily Times reported . In an email to the newspaper Thursday, Mary Turner Project coordinator Mark Patrick George said the marker was shot 13 times in the last two to three months. It was shot five times in July 2013.
The marker is dedicated to 13 lynching victims killed in Lowndes and Brooks counties.
George said the Mary Turner Project is offering a $200 reward to anyone who comes forward with information about the vandalism.
“Although there is little our organization can do to stop these acts of hatred, and given we live in one of the few states that does not have hate crime laws, the Mary Turner Project is contacting members of the press and local elected officials for your assistance,” George said in an email.
Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said a deputy met Thursday with George to document the vandalism.
Investigators have no leads regarding who shot the sign or if the vandalism was a targeted hate crime.
“You can’t really classify it as attacking Mary Turner’s sign, so we can’t say if it’s any kind of hate crime,” Paulk said. “There’s no way to prove it or accuse somebody of it.”
When the marker was damaged five years ago, the organization also offered a $200 reward for additional information, but no one came forward.
George said neither incident of vandalism comes as a surprise, though he doesn’t want to speculate it has any ties to racism.
Mary Turner was eight months pregnant when her ankles were tied and she was lynched by a mob at the Lowndes-Brooks county line in 1918. Her husband was one of the 13 lynching victims commemorated by the marker. Turner’s outcry over her husband’s death led to her lynching.
“It’s interesting that this has been a target at least twice,” George said. “We treat this as a sacred place because this is where she was killed, and this was basically her tombstone because her body was never recovered. What people are desecrating is basically a tombstone.”
An annual commemoration service is held in May, and the Mary Turner Project is still active in remembering the lynchings.
Information from: The Valdosta Daily Times, http://valdostadailytimes.com/
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