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Keep up with the latest from THJ and fellow TN racial justice organizations. Learn how you can support our mission to uncover the truth about racial violence in Tennessee in order to achieve justice, conciliation, and healing across our state. 


Ed Johnson Project

Construction of the Ed Johnson Memorial
Credit: facebook- 

We are proud to work with fellow racial justice organizations across TN. Meet The Ed Johnson Project.

The Ed Johnson Project’s (EJP) mission is to promote reconciliation and healing by engaging local communities in remembering the Ed Johnson story and reflecting on its implications for us today. It fosters and promotes a deeper understanding and awareness of the lynching of Ed Johnson; honors the courageous pursuit of justice which was undertaken by his attorneys Noah W. Pardon and Styles L. Hutchins in appealing the case directly to the U. S. Supreme Court; and measures the enduring legal, historical, and social significance this case duly has in the establishment of justice and advancement of our society.

Beth Murphy, Communications Committee Chair of EJP, shares the organization's major accomplishments: 

  • EJP has hosted over 40 community events to raise awareness of Ed Johnson's story.
  • EJP hosted a Community Remembrance Day in which they worked with the Equal Justice Initiative to collect soil from the site in which 5 known lynchings occurred in Hamilton County. 
  • EJP raised money to fund the construction of a memorial to the Ed Johnson story on the south end of the Walnut Street Bridge in Chattanooga.

The Ed Johnson Project is currently focused on completing construction on the Ed Johnson Memorial and preparing for its dedication. Hear Eric Atkins, Vice-Chair and Beth Murphy, Communications Committee Chair speak about The Ed Johnson Project during our March Zoom call with fellow TN racial justice organizations here.

Proposed design of the Ed Johnson Memorial. 
Credit: Jerome Meadows, 


Dave Yoder, THJ Board Member

"We're waking up. It's a new day for justice all over the world and in Tennessee."
-Lamont Turner

This week we are getting to know Dave Yoder. Dave serves as a board member on the Tennesseans for Historical Justice Board of Directors and is an advocate for racial justice and equity in Tennessee. He's been a legal aid attorney for 43 years, including 10 years as Executive Director of Legal Services of Northwest Indiana followed by 23 years as Executive Director of Legal Aid of East Tennessee (formally Knoxville Legal Aid Society). As Executive Director of Legal Aid of East Tennessee he increased minority hiring and focused on diversity and economic development in minority communities. Dave holds a B.A. from Purdue University and J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law.

Dave's early work focused on domestic violence and includes direct representation, legislative advocacy, serving on the Michigan Domestic Violence Board, speaking engagements, and training presentations throughout the country. He wrote Spouse Assault: A Community Approach for the Department of Justice in the late 70's and was integral in getting DOJ funding for Legal Aid of East Tennessee and Knoxville Family Justice Center in 1995. While in Gary, Indiana he expanded the local and statewide Pro Bono program, was the first white member of the Thurgood Marshall Bar Association of Gary, and served as President of the Lake County Bar Association.

When asked his favorite quote, Dave shares:

"A quote from Robert Kennedy has been a driving force, "We can do better". RFK would comment on a challenge facing us and conclude with this. It might be a terrible failure or something most presumed the nation had done will with but where more needed to be done. I often drove my staff slightly crazy with this quote while acknowledging and celebrating the really great work they were doing.

Another quote I like came from a deceased community activist in Gary, IN. He had been a client eligible board member for legal aid in Gary.  He passed days before I arrived as the new Exec Dir. I attended his funeral where one of the ministers quoted him as saying, "The problem with highly educated people is that they spend most of  their time investigating the opportunities for failure."

When Dave is not in the office he enjoys autocross. He is a member of the East Tennessee Region Sports Car Club of America. Check him out in his highly modified Fiat X1/9 below, which Dave runs in Historic Class Race. His next race is Sunday, May 16...wish him good luck 

Dave Yoder enjoying his hobby, autocross.
Meet the Team


A mission of the Tennesseans for Historical Justice is to collect information about racial violence in Tennessee and make it available to the public. Our hope is that people will use this information to conduct further research into these cases and stories to better understand our history and learn how to more effectively and completely address current incidents of racial terror to promote transparency, justice, and conciliation.

Specifically, we are collecting cases and stories of racially-motivated beatings, hangings, bombings, and violence regardless of whether the case has been solved and the assailant prosecuted. We need to make a complete and thorough list for posterity.

We are seeking to uncover stories of individuals who were victims of violence motivated by an anti-racial bias. We know that many of these cases are documented in the state and the federal criminal justice system through police reports, grand jury transcripts, and other court records. While we are looking for these documents, we are also searching for stories that may have only been recounted in a newspaper or magazine article, or maybe not documented at all.

Through our work, we know that a good number of instances of racial violence exist only in the memories of the individuals who experienced the terror, witnessed the incident, or who heard about it through family lore. Understandably, these folks are hesitant to share these stories for fear of retaliation against them and their families. The fear of more violence, for exposing the truth of the past, is real. Without a proper investigation of these cases and stories, however, the people of Tennessee will never know their past. As the old adage goes, if we don't understand our history, we are doomed to repeat it.

Tennesseans for Historical Justice pledges to investigate all reports of racial violence with compassion, sensitivity, and with an eye towards justice and conciliation, pursuant to Chapter 966 Tennessee Public Acts 2018.

We need your help. Let's work together to understand our history and make the state a safer and more welcoming place for all.

Click “Alert THJ” below to send us information you may have on cases or stories of racial violence in Tennessee.



Along the path to justice, conciliation, and healing are many broken pieces.

It is never too late for justice. It is never too late for conciliation.

It is never too late for healing.

Tennesseans for Historical Justice is a Tennessee non-profit 501c3 corporation. Our mission is to uncover the truth about racial violence in Tennessee in order to achieve justice, conciliation and healing across our state. Victims of racial violence deserve justice and our state deserves healing. But we cannot do this alone.

We need your help. Join our team, volunteer, or make a donation- we are eager to work with you! Click the button below to find out how you can support our mission.

Copyright © 2021 Tennesseans for Historical Justice, All rights reserved.

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