Film of lynching victim's memorial service premieres Friday

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | 6:49 p.m. CST; updated 9:39 a.m. CST, Tuesday, February 15, 2011

COLUMBIA — A Columbia filmmaker is bringing James T. Scott's memorial service to the silver screen.

Scott Wilson, an independent producer for Columbia Access TV who was instrumental in changing Scott's death certificate, filmed Scott's memorial service at Second Missionary Baptist Church last November.

The film premieres at 5:30 p.m. Friday at The Blue Note, 17 N. Ninth St.

The James T. Scott Monument Committee wanted to give an opportunity to those who weren't able to attend the service in November to see the community event and discuss his lynching. The event is also supported by the ACLU of Mid-Missouri and Keep Columbia Free.

Scott was a black veteran of World War I and a janitor at MU. In 1923, he was accused by a 14-year-old white girl of sexual assault and was arrested. A mob of white, male Columbia residents then broke into his jail cell and lynched him without due process.

The James T. Scott Monument Committee was formed in September 2010 to create a new headstone on Scott's grave in Columbia Cemetery.

Friday's event is aimed at raising awareness about the lynching as well as raising funds for the headstone project. A minimum donation of $5 is suggested to attend the event, and all proceeds will go to the Scott Monument Project.

“I think they've done pretty well in terms of raising funds for the headstone, and we are expecting a good turn out for Friday evening,” said Dan Viets, a Columbia attorney and former chair of the Mid-Missouri ACLU.

Before and after the screening, there will be a panel discussion about the lynching with Wilson and MU professor Douglas Hunt, who recently published a book on Scott's story.

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