People’s Grocery victims honored with wreath laying

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Zion Cemetery is the final resting place of three men lynched in 1892.

"A tragic thing that these three young black businessmen were lynched...were killed because they were doing well, not because they raped white women."

Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart were clerks at the People's Grocery. Thomas Moss was one of the owners.

It started with a series of incident with the white owner of a neighboring store.

"It was a competition because of a white grocer named Barrett across the street from People`s Grocery. He was the one who instigated this lynching," said Earnestine Jenkins with the University of Memphis.

McDowell, Stewart and Moss turned themselves in to police in hope of keeping the peace in the neighborhood. On March 9,1892, a mob of masked men dragged the three from the Shelby County Jail and lynched them near a brick and train yard in the present day Uptown area.

Approximately 125 years later, the three men were honored with a wreath laying. People from all over the Memphis community were there for the ceremony.