MILWAUKEE — Nearly two centuries after his brief life and brutal death were entered into public record as the only recorded lynching in Milwaukee history, George Marshall Clark’s unmarked grave will be memorialized with a granite headstone at Forest Home Cemetery, 2405 W. Forest Home Ave., Milwaukee at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8.
Like all historic monuments at Forest Home Cemetery, the rededicated George Marshall Clark gravesite is open to the public. In-person attendance during the outdoor dedication ceremony is invitation-only but the event will be broadcast via Facebook live and other streaming platforms.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa, America’s Black Holocaust Museum Head Griot Reggie Jackson, Marquette University’s Dr. Robert Smith, and other community and spiritual leaders, will dedicate a gravestone to Clark in the same cemetery where his remains were hurriedly buried on the day of his murder, Sept. 8, 1861.
City and cemetery records placed Clark’s remains at Forest Home. Local artist and activist Tyrone MackLee Randle Jr. identified the exact location of Clark’s unmarked grave in consultation with Forest Home staff, bringing Clark’s story to wider attention following racial-justice protests in the summer of 2020. A joint fundraising effort by Forest Home Cemetery and Randle secured funds for Clark’s headstone last spring.
“America’s Black Holocaust Museum is uniquely positioned to help acknowledge the life of George Marshall Clark and the tragic events of his death as a charge of our mission,” says Dr. Robert Davis, President & CEO of ABHM. “Our founder, Dr. James Cameron, dedicated his life to educating about racial violence and the terror of lynching, which he himself survived. The events of September 7 & 8, 1861 were unfortunately all too common across this nation, where lawless mobs deputized themselves and inflicted egregious harm on Black individuals and communities. ABHM is thankful to join with Forest Home Cemetery and the community in finally memorializing the life and lynching of George Marshall Clark and reconciling with what that means 160 years later.”
“George Marshall Clark died an innocent young man when his safety and dignity as a Black man were utterly denied him,” says Forest Home Cemetery Assistant Executive Director Sara Tomilin. “As Milwaukeeans, we owe it to all young people in our community, and to the memory of Mr. Clark, to properly acknowledge this lynching. We cannot risk forgetting Clark’s life or death. We’re grateful to America’s Black Holocaust Museum and to Mr. Randle for joining us to pay Mr. Clark proper tribute and to share his story.”
To ensure a respectful and peaceful event for all attendees and viewers, America’s Black Holocaust Museum and Forest Home Cemetery request that in-person attendees arrive prior to 6 p.m. and silence all cellular phones and recording devices. The George Marshall Clark Memorial event will proceed rain or shine; the event is taking place entirely outdoors. Event organizers ask that all attendees follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding masking and social distancing.
Questions about the George Marshall Clark Memorial event and the life, death, and legacy of George Marshall Clark can be directed to Carly Wilson, [email protected], who will connect reporters to experts at America’s Black Holocaust Museum and Forest Home Cemetery. A history of the lynching is available at the museum’s website.
About America’s Black Holocaust Museum
America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) was founded by lynching survivor Dr. James Cameron in 1988 to educate the world about the history of African Americans from pre-captivity to the present as an integral part of U.S. history. Rooted in themes of Remembrance, Resistance, Redemption, and Reconciliation, our collections cover more than 400 years of history with primary goals of educating and creating space for racial repair, reconciliation, and healing.
About Forest Home Cemetery
Forest Home Cemetery was established in 1850 as a cemetery for the city. As Milwaukee prospered and expanded, the cemetery became the final resting place for 26 mayors, more than 1,000 Civil War veterans and countless prominent people who left their mark on Milwaukee.
Today, Forest Home Cemetery is an independent non-profit that operates as an historic site with tours and events, as well as an active cemetery assisting families with traditional and green burials as well as cremation. In 2021, Forest Home became Milwaukee’s first accredited arboretum, whose 200 acres offers a place for recreation, solitude and environmental conservation and programming. Forest Home staff proudly serve as caretakers of Milwaukee history, architecture and nature