By Alyssa Schnugg
It’s been 83 years since Lafayette County resident Elwood Higginbottom was lynched by an angry mob around the area known as Three-Way on North Lamar Boulevard.
After a local movement to bring recognition to those who lost their lives in racially-motivated lynchings, his life and death will be memorialized on a plaque that will be placed in the same area he was killed.
On Tuesday, the Oxford Board of Aldermen approved the placement of the plaque, that will be located on the southwest corner of North Lamar and Molly Barr Road if the city confirms the area is indeed, city property. The board approved the placement contingent on those findings.
April Grayson, director of Community Building for the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, and local resident Alonzo Hilliard, presented the request to the aldermen and said an unveiling event for the historical marker is planned for 6 p.m. on Oct. 27 at the site.
A general informational meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 28 at the Tallahatchie-Oxford Missionary Baptist building on Highway 334.
Grayson said the goal is to place a marker on all seven of the known lynching victims from Lafayette County that include Harris Tunstal, killed July 12, 2018; William McGregory killed Nov. 13, 1890; “unknown victim” killed Sept. 2, 1891; William Steen killed July 30, 1893; William Chandler killed June 19, 1895; Lawson Patton killed Sept. 8, 1908.
On one side of the marker will be the history of Higginbottom’s death. The other side of the marker pays homage to all Mississippi and Lafayette County lynching victims.
Higginbottom was killed on Sept. 17, 1935, at the age of 28 while he was being held in the Oxford jail for the murder of landowner Glen Roberts.
According to records by the Equal Justice Initiative, Roberts led a posse to Higginbottom’s house over a property dispute where Higginbottom defended himself by shooting and killing Roberts. During Higginbottom’s trial, a group of 50 to 100 white men gathered outside the jail, breaking in eventually and dragging Higginbottom to a wooded area near what is now the Three-Way intersection.
No one was ever charged for Higginbottom’s death.