Daughter of Lowndes County lynching victim praises EJI's efforts

(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Updated: Apr. 24, 2018 at 11:17 PM CDT
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Elmore Bolling (Source: Bolling family)
Elmore Bolling (Source: Bolling family)

LOWNDES COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Both the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum are meant to address tough topics rarely discussed in the United States.

Josephine Bolling McCall, whose father was lynched, believes the Equal Justice Initiatives efforts to address our nation's past so we can move forward into the future is necessary.

McCall remembers her father as the epitome of a successful entrepreneur.

"He had a store on Highway 80, he had a farm employing about 35 to 40 people, and he had a trucking business," said Josephine McCall.

Unfortunately being a wealthy black business owner in Lowndes County during the harsh era of Jim Crow segregation made Elmore Bolling a target.

"My father was actually killed because he was too prosperous as a negro," she said.

McCall still has the newspaper articles published in Montgomery and in Chicago just days after her father was lynched, but not by hanging. On Dec. 4, 1947, he was gunned down by a group of white men and left in a ditch on Highway 80 near Lowndesboro. Only one man was arrested, but never indicted.

"My father was supposed to have been lynched because he insulted the man's wife over the telephone. So my father was not accused of a crime. He was still lynched because they wanted to secure white supremacy. The whole purpose of lynching was to keep black people in their places," said McCall.

McCall was only 5 years old at the time of her father's death. She says his murder is something she and her six siblings have had to live with.

"It was lawlessness even though we had the law," said McCall.

Soil from where Bolling was lynched is now part of EJI's Legacy Museum and his name is now listed among thousands at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

"As a race we have not been recognized for the terrorism we have experienced," said McCall.

McCall hopes America can learn and grow from the dark and painful glimpse of history on display at the memorial and museum.

"So my hope is something comes out of this where more people become accepting of the plight of the negro," said McCall.

McCall founded the Elmore Bolling Foundation Inc. to remember the legacy of her father. In 2007 she had a historic marker erected in the location her father was killed in Lowndes County. McCall is also the author of a book called "The Penalty for Success."

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