NENA holds public meeting to discuss lynching of Charlotte Harris

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — On Thursday, the Northeast Neighborhood Association (NENA) held a public meeting to discuss a civic project memorializing Charlotte Harris, a black woman who was lynched near Harrisonburg 141 years ago.

More than a dozen people attended the meeting to learn more about the project and offer feedback.

Steven Thomas, with NENA, said the Community Remembrance Project is a way to educate and ensure Harrisonburg is a welcoming and safe locality.

"It is important to keep in mind that our community is not immune to this type of potential violence," said Thomas. "In fact, the lynching of Charlotte Harris proves that we are not immune to racial terrorism."

NENA plans to memorialize the life of Charlotte Harris with the following pillars:

• A Community Remembrance Project,
• A soil collection at the approximate site of the lynching,
• A historical marker, and
• A memorial monument placement

Earlier this year, NENA garnered the support of both Harrisonburg City Council and the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors for the project.

At Thursday night's meeting, Thomas said the hope is to have the historical marker placed on Court Square.

Steven Thomas sat down with WHSV's Bob Corso to discuss the project in detail. You can watch the full interview here.