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Samuel J. Bush Historical Marker Project

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The Illinois State Historical Marker will state:

On June 3, 1893, a mob of 1,500 white people lynched a 30-year-old Black man named Samuel J. Bush across from the courthouse lawn in Decatur, Illinois. Mr. Bush was accused of assaulting two white women -- one from Mt. Zion, a “sundown town”. He was charged and held at the Macon County Courthouse. Before he had a chance to defend himself in a court of law, a mob from Mt. Zion stormed the courthouse, and abducted him. Mr. Bush proclaimed, “Gentlemen, you are killing an innocent man.” The mob then dragged Mr. Bush here, at the intersection of Water & Wood St. According to newspapers he knelt to pray, calling on “Jesus to come and take his soul and forgive the men who were murdering him.” The mob then forced a naked Mr. Bush on top of a carriage and hanged him from a utility pole. Following his lynching, pieces of rope used to hang Mr. Bush were distributed to the crowd as “souvenirs,” and his body was made spectacle, displayed in a glass window for the masses of people that came to view his corpse. None of the perpetrators faced any legal consequences for the murder of Samuel J. Bush. Mr. Bush’s murder occurred during a time when charges of assault against Black people, even when made with unsubstantiated evidence, regularly aroused violent white mobs.


June 3rd, 2023 is the 130th anniversary of Mr. Bush’s murder. At the request of Affordable Activism and Walk It Like We Talk It (WILWTI) The mayor of Decatur will issue a declaration that June third will be Samuel J. Bush Day. Along with the day of remembrance, a historical marker has been commissioned by Affordable Activism and WILWTI through the Illinois State Historical Society and will be unveiled on the courthouse grounds just feet away from where this tragedy occurred. This has taken years to accomplish.

The unveiling of the marker will be at 1:00 pm June, 3rd, 2023 at the northeast corner of the Macon County Courthouse. Mr. Bush's relatives will be in attendance and Professor A.D. Carson from the University of Virginia will be Master of Ceremonies for the event.

We asking for donations to cover the many expenses of the marker, inaugural event, funding for a Samuel J. Bush scholarship endowment to be awarded to students annually, and to continue the important work of obtaining markers that highlight untold stories of marginalized groups in the area.

Your donation helps change the narrative of racial injustice through truthful storytelling, and we are grateful for any amount. Please don't give until it hurts, give until it feels good.
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Donations 

  • Tawanda Lewis
    • $20 
    • 10 mos
  • POLLY THISTLETHWAITE
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $45 
    • 11 mos
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Organizer

Affordable Activism and Walk It Like We Talk It
Organizer
Decatur, IL

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