The New Hanover County Community Remembrance Project (NHCCRP) formed in fall 2019 after several local residents had traveled to Montgomery, Alabama to visit the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) Memorial of Peace and Justice. One of the missions of EJI is to memorialize the victims of racial terror through Community Remembrance Projects.
NHCCRP reached out to racial and social justice groups in New Hanover County and made a proposal to EJI to do a “Soil Collection Ceremony” for the victims of the 1898 Massacre.
In 2021, the New Hanover County Community Remembrance Project, in conjunction with EJI collected soil from the identified sites where identified Black victims were killed during the 1898 race massacre. This event was also the only successful coup d’état and successful overthrow of a duly elected government in the United States. The violence-seeking white supremacists took the lives of many innocent Black people that day. Gathering soil from these sites is a way to bear witness to this history and the terrorism which devastated the Black community.
On November 6, 2021, community members and descendants of the Black victims joined together and filled nine jars. Each jar displays the name of one of the 1898 victims. There is also a jar for the unknown victims because the number of murdered individuals greatly surpassed the identified eight victims. The Soil Collection Jar Display will be on view in the lobby of Cape Fear Museum of History and Science.