BSC Students Use Birmingham Public Library Archives to Research Jefferson County Lynching Victims

Birmingham-Southern College Student JCMP Fellows Alexandra Coberly, Dorona Dancy and Jackie Lamars.   

Three Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) students who used Birmingham Public Library digital archives as part of a research project on lynching victims in Jefferson County have been recognized by their college.

A BSC blog released last week highlights the contributions of students Alexandra Coberly, Dorona Dancy and Jackie Lamars, who served as 2019-2020 Jefferson County Memorial Project (JCMP) Fellows. Over the past academic year, the BSC trio joined students from other Birmingham area colleges to research Jefferson County newspapers and other sources to honor victims of racial terror. 

Their assignment as fellows with the Jefferson County Memorial Project (JCMP): to report on undocumented lynching victims in Jefferson County, find updated information on documented victims or discover an event that upheld racial terror in Jefferson County.

Read the BSC release about  the students by clicking here

The trio of BSC students were among JCMP Fellows from five colleges- Birmingham-Southern, Miles College, University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), Samford University and Jefferson State Community College.

Abigail Schneider, director of Jefferson County Memorial Project, said the original research completed by the JCMP Fellows could not have been done without the support of the Birmingham Public Library.

 “Their extensive archives on Birmingham's local newspapers provided have helped our fellows and the community attain a more nuanced and complete understanding of Jefferson County's history,” Schneider said. “And, we have only just begun. I'm looking forward to seeing what future fellows are able to uncover in the BPL's archives."

According to BSC, Dancy began her research through publications she found at the Birmingham Public Library, then searched BPL’s digital collection. Her research discovered Otis Brown, a previously undocumented lynching victim who was shot by a mob near Five Mile Creek in 1886 after being accused of stealing.

The JCMP Fellows each picked one local newspaper from the Birmingham Public Library Archives to research lynching victims in Jefferson County. The research by the JCLP fellows uncovered four more undocumented victims, raising the total to 33 lynching victims

 To read the JCMP 2020 report on the 33 lynching victims of Jefferson County, entitled “Jefferson County’s Broken Systems,” click on