Committee to help secure headstone for Columbia lynching victim

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | 12:40 p.m. CDT; updated 1:36 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 29, 2010

COLUMBIA — An effort is under way to build a monument at the grave of a African-American man lynched in Columbia in 1923.

The James T. Scott Monument Committee formed about two weeks ago to coordinate efforts to create a headstone for James Scott. Scott was a janitor for MU, who was decorated for valor in World War I. He was arrested and accused of raping Regina Almstedt, a 14-year-old white girl.


The following groups have endorsed an effort to secure a headstone for the grave of James Scott:

Second Missionary Baptist Church

City of Columbia, Office of the Mayor

The Family of Regina Almstedt

City of Columbia Division of Human Services

Columbia Cemetery Association

Columbia Special Business District

Columbia Daily Tribune

The Missouri School of Journalism

University of Missouri Black Law Students Association

The Minority Men’s Network

The State Historical Society of Missouri

Boone County Historical Society

Human Rights Task Force, Missouri Association for Social Welfare

The Missouri Commission On Human Rights

State of Missouri NAACP

Disabled American Veterans

Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center

H.T. May and Son Funeral Homes

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Although law enforcement officials were uncertain they had arrested the right man, and Scott had yet to be tried for the crime he was accused of, a mob broke into his jail cell and lynched him on Stewart Bridge on April 28, 1923.

Scott's grave lies in a section of Columbia Cemetery where mostly blacks were buried. His grave was unmarked until a previous superintendent made a small marker, Columbia Cemetery Superintendent Tonja Patton said.

An event supporting this initiative will take place at 6 p.m. on Nov. 7 at Second Baptist Church on 407 E. Broadway. The event will feature the Lincoln University Choir and String Ensemble under the direction of Michelle Gamblin-Green and a dance performance by Candace Ingram. Patrick Huber will be the keynote speaker. Huber wrote, "The Lynching of James T. Scott: The Underside of A College Town."

The committee plans to dedicate the headstone in April to mark the anniversary of Scott's death.

Another man has recently shed light on Scott's story. Scott Wilson, an independent Columbia Public Television producer, is working to get the words "Committed Rape" removed from Scott's death certificate.

Donations can be made to the James T. Scott Monument Fund at the Boone County National Bank or mailed to P.O. Box 593, Columbia, Mo., 65205.

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