OLLI Remembers

By Strohmann Breeding


On Monday, November 6, 2019, OLLI gathered to remember a dark time in Fayetteville, AR. 


Taught at the Pryor Center, by Margaret Holcomb and RoAnne Elliott, the class covered the 1856 lynching of Aaron, Randall, and Anthony.


Holcomb covered the history by narrating an oral description of the events as seen through the eyes by her grandmother, Cener Boone, titled Racial Terror. Describing the events in such a way gave OLLI students a unique window into the eyes of a witness, one rarely described in today’s history books.


Following the oral history, students were given an opportunity to speak on their feelings. 


One OLLI student expressed remorse, stating, “My feelings are feelings of outrage, where were the people who knew what was right or wrong?…We still do things like this to each-other, and standing in the way of overwhelming public pressure doesn’t get easier, unless we support each other.”


After discussing thoughts, Elliott introduced the Community Remembrance Project, a campaign to install a memorial to the victims of the Washington County lynchings. This is powered by the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.


OLLI hopes to offer more classes that shed light on tough topics in history, and hopes students will continue to probe, and ask hard questions so that these tragedies won’t happen again.