Descendants of Corbin and Garnet were present at the marker’s unveiling ceremony.
According to portions of the marker’s text: “During the 19th century, white mobs in Oxford lynched at least two Black men after kidnapping them from the old Town Hall Jail that stood near this site.
“In September 1877, a white mob stormed the jail to lynch a Black man named Simeon Garnet. Without serious investigation, Mr. Garnet had been presumed guilty of assaulting a white woman. A mob led by the woman’s husband broke into the jail on September 2 and shot Mr. Garnet, who managed to survive. Upon learning that Mr. Garnet was alive, the mob attacked the jail again on September 3, shot Mr. Garnet at close range, and dragged him outside the jail, where he was left to die.”
“On January 14, 1892, a white mob abducted Henry Corbin, a young Black man, from the jail to lynch him. Mr. Corbin’s employer, a white woman, had been found dead in her home on January 5. A mob quickly formed when the woman’s daughter accused Mr. Corbin of the killing. Mr. Corbin’s family maintained that the accusation was false and that the daughter had implicated him to hide her own involvement in the crime. Mr. Corbin was captured after being wounded and was brought to the jail; but the mob seized Mr. Corbin from his cell, hanged him from a tree, and shot him over 400 times. Local officers failed to prevent either lynching, which terrorized Oxford’s Black community. In the end, no mob participants were held accountable.”
Anthony James, Miami University associate professor and director of the Family Science Program, said in a statement the historic plaque was also the result of the school and students’ efforts as part of “the broader vision for Miami’s Truth and Reconciliation Project (and) its continued focus on the work that remains left to be done in advancing truth and reconciliation around race in America and honestly confronting the legacy of slavery, lynching and segregation.”
Miami University will host the 10th Annual National Civil Rights Conference this summer. Miami was chosen to host the conference because of its sponsorship of the conference, its history of activism tied to Freedom Summer and the numerous civil rights landmarks and sites around campus.