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Vandalized Columbia lynching site marker repaired

Repaired James Scott marker
A city of Columbia spokesperson said it repaired and reinstalled a vandalized monument to James Scott's lynching Friday afternoon.
James T. Scott marker
KMIZ
The pedestal for the James T. Scott marker is all that's left after it was vandalized.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

A vandalized MKT Trail marker that documents the last lynching in Boone County has been repaired and is back in its original spot.

The Community Remembrance Project of Boone County said Friday in a news release that its staff learned of the vandalism to the James T. Scott marker around 8 p.m. Thursday. Police said the marker was found but badly damaged on Friday. Hours later workers put the repaired marker back in its place.

The marker is located off of Stewart Road and Providence Road in central Columbia.

A spokesman for the Community Remembrance Project said a report was filed Thursday night with the Columbia Police Department, which was turned over to city park rangers.

"The CRP will not be deterred by acts of fear such as these," the group said in the news release.

The spokesman for CRP said the University of Missouri and the Columbia city government will pay for a new marker. City staff will work on a temporary repair until then, according to a city news release.

Columbia Police Department Chief Geoff Jones said in the release that the department will also step up security in that area.

"Those responsible should know the blatant disregard for the significance of this man’s death and the site is not welcomed here," Jones said in the release.  

An ABC 17 News crew found on Friday morning all that remained of the marker is the pedestal. The metal marker appears to have been sheared off.

Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said "This is a blow not just against the memory of this atrocity, but against our community conscience," in a statement posted on Twitter.

"This vandalism can only erase history temporarily," Treece said. "A new marker will allow the community to recognize the historical significance of events like this one for years to come."

State Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said in a tweet that he was "disgusted by this hateful act."

Scott, a Black man, was lynched at the Stewart Bridge over the MKT Railroad on April 29, 1923, after he was accused of assaulting a young white girl.

The vandalism comes more than a week after city and community leaders held a soil collection ceremony at the site of the James T. Scott marker.

Three jars of soil were collected at the site on April 29. One jar is displayed locally. Two others were sent to museums in Kansas City and Alabama.

The Association of Black Graduate and Professional Students at the University of Missouri placed the James T. Scott marker on the MKT trail in 2016.

The ABGPS raised the money for the marker using GoFundMe . The total cost of the marker ended up being $1985.

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ABC 17 News Team

Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.

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