The Ed Johnson Memorial approved for construction at Chattanooga’s Walnut Street Bridge

The finalized rendering of the memorial site | Photo provided by Jerome Meadows

The Ed Johnson Memorial, which will be in the Walnut Plaza, has been approved by the Chattanooga City Council — work is expected to start next month on the $850k project. Once site preparation is finished, artist Jerome Meadows + his team will start constructing components of the memorial.

Back up — what is this memorial about?

Ed Johnson was a black man who was lynched on the Walnut Street Bridge after he was accused of raping a young white woman. The trial was complicated, and we wrote about it back in February for our first installation of BiblioChatt — you can read it here. The memorial will be used to take up physical space to remind Chattanooga of this story and its history of racial injustice. The memorial will stand at the south side of the Walnut Street Bridge, where the tragedy took place.

Not only will Ed Johnson be sculpted for the memorial, but his lawyers — Styles Hutchins + Noah Parden — will be as well. 

What will it look like?

Jerome has been working on life-size statues of Ed Johnson, Noah Parden, and Styles Hutchins, which are nearly completed. They will be stored until the site is ready for installation. There will also be story walls, a space for contemplation, and sculptures dedicated to the other three victims of lynching in Hamilton County.

Bronze-cast 18″ models of the life-size figures that will be a part of the Ed Johnson Memorial. | Photo provided by The Ed Johnson Project

When will it be completed?

The memorial is expected to be completed by early spring, 2021. If it’s completed by March 19, 2021, that’s the anniversary of Johnson’s murder and would be a good time to visit the memorial, learn more about our city’s past, and pay respects.

Finalized site plans | Photo provided by Jerome Meadows

Quoteworthy

“A special thank you goes out to the Chattanooga City Council and Mayor Andy Berke for their continued support of this important project and for approving the needed items last week. We are also grateful for all our donors and for each member of the Chattanooga community who recognizes the importance of this memorial and the remembrance of the Ed Johnson story. Thank you for your continued support and for being a part of this necessary work.” Ed Johnson Project

“God bless you all. I am an innocent man.”Ed Johnson

If you’d like to donate to the memorial project, you can do that here. There is an option to make your donation in memory of someone.