In 1947 in Harris County, Georgia, an African-American man named Henry “Peg” Gilbert was arrested and jailed, without legal cause.
Five days later, a mob beat him to death in his jail cell. He was a deacon at Union Springs Baptist Church as well as a respected landowner. He was arrested by the county’s sheriff on suspicions of Gilbert hiding a fugitive. There was never a trial or conviction.
Seventy years later, Karen Branan, the granddaughter of one of the people involved in the lynching, and Sheila Moss Brown, Gilbert's granddaughter, have been brought together by their families' shared past. We sat down with both of them to talk about their findings and family history.
A memorial ceremony for Gilbert was held at Union Springs Methodist Church at Jones Crossroads. This was also where Gilbert's family lived. ONE Harris County, an organization that strives to have racial reconciliation and trust building, sponsored and coordinated the event.