Letter to the editor: Past words fit for present

To the editor:

Congratulations to organizers of Saturday’s memorial to the lynching victims of 1882. It was a meaningful  ceremony in remembrance of a tragic Lawrence event.  Words of the ceremony echoed those of many at the time of the lynchings.

Note these words written by Richard Cordley in an 1882 letter to the Lawrence Journal:  “… it was a terrible tragedy that has disgraced Lawrence and the State … for Lawrence stands for Kansas, and the best in Kansas, and this terrible deed will go abroad to our shame.”

Cordley, pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church for 38 years, added these word for the lynchers:  “You say you are sorry. That is a feeble word. The blood of every law abiding citizen should tingle with shame, and his face blush with horror at such a deed.”

Words written 139 years ago still resonate today.

Harold Riehm,



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