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Just over 100 years ago, this headline appeared in The Commercial Appeal. Weeks later, Ell Persons, an African American man, was publicly lynched before a reported mob of 2,000 - 3,000 people.

Just over 100 years ago, this headline appeared in The Commercial Appeal. Weeks later, Ell Persons, an African American man, was publicly lynched before a reported mob of 2,000 - 3,000 people.

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Bringing a century-old tragedy to life

May 21 ceremony is a step in the direction of awareness.

In 1917, Ell Persons was brutally lynched in East Shelby County. The tragedy was largely forgotten, but a May 21 ceremony organized by John Ashworth (pictured) is a step in the direction of awareness.