Soil Collection Ceremony

On Saturday, June 11, 2022, Sema Hadithi and the Salt Lake County Community Coalition, in coordination with the Equal Justice Initiative, hosted a soil gathering ceremony at the lynching sites of Thomas Coleman and William “Sam Joe” Harvey. Black community leaders, ministers, and a representative from the governor’s office joined a poet, a singer, and students from the BYU Black Menaces to commemorate the lives of Coleman and Harvey and to publicly acknowledge and condemn their murders.

The event began on the steps of the Utah State Capitol, near where Coleman’s body was found on December 11, 1866. After attendees collected soil from the site of Coleman’s murder, they marched down State Street to 100 South, where Harvey was lynched on August 25, 1883. Participants held a second ceremony there and again collected soil.

Two jars containing the soil were sent to the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, to be displayed at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice alongside the soil collected from other lynching victims across the United States. Additional jars remain in Utah, to be displayed as part of Utah Black History exhibits.

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