Longtime Hamilton County educator and 1997 UTC graduate LaFrederick Thirkill kneels at Ed Johnson’s grave in Pleasant Gardens Cemetery.

Alumni, students, scholars and leaders of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga are part of a landmark series of events honoring the dedication of a memorial to a man at the center of a tragedy in Chattanooga history and offering lessons learned toward healing and reconciliation.

The Ed Johnson Memorial Dedication is a multi-day series of programs and presentations today through Sunday, Sept. 19, in Chattanooga. The community is invited. Events explore the story of Ed Johnson, the victim of a lynching off the Walnut Street Bridge in 1906, through the lens of history, art, storytelling and remembrance.

Among UTC’s connections to the memorial events is LaFrederick Thirkill, a longtime Hamilton County educator, 1997 UTC graduate and a leading advocate for telling Johnson’s story.

Chattanooga native and UTC Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement Stacy Lightfoot was involved in conversations from the start of planning for the Johnson memorial and, in spring, 12 UTC Honors College students captured Johnson’s story in a five-part serial podcast as part of a semester-long course, Storytelling Through Podcasts, led by instructor Will Davis.

Organizers behind the Ed Johnson Project have shared plans for the commemoration with listeners of WUTC-FM’s Scenic Roots with Ray Bassett.

Extensive support also has come from the UTC Department of History and Africana Studies program, associate professors Michael Thompson and Susan Eckelmann Berghel and students of both who have served as interns with the Ed Johnson Project over the years.


UTC Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement Stacy Lightfoot shares her thoughts on the Ed Johnson Memorial Project


Ed Johnson Memorial Dedication

Schedule of Events

Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 16-19

The campus and community are urged to take advantage of this momentous opportunity.

For more information and for events that require registration,



Demystifying the Monumental Burden of Public Art

Thursday, Sept. 16, 6-7 p.m.

The Hunter Museum of American Art

10 Bluff View Ave.

No registration required.


People’s History of Chattanooga Tour with Michael Gilliland

Friday, Sept.  17, Noon-2 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.

Union Depot Historical Marker

158 W. Martin Luther King Blvd.

Registration required.


The Work of an Artist: Q & A with Jerome Meadows

Friday, Sept. 17, 5-6:30 p.m.

The Bethlehem Center

200 W. 38th St.

Temperature checks required to enter.

No registration required.


“I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray”: Public Lynchings and Public Memories in Middle Tennessee

Friday, Sept. 17, 5:30-6:15 p.m.

The Camp House

806 E. 12th St.

Proof of vaccination required.

Registration required.


History and Legal Roundtable About the Significance of the Ed Johnson Memorial

Friday, Sept. 17, 6:30-7:45 p.m.

The Camp House

806 E. 12th St.

Registration required.


Colors of Our World Storytime

Saturday, Sept. 18, 10-11 a.m.

Chattanooga Public Library-Downtown Branch, Outside

1001 Broad St.

No registration required.


RISE MLK History Tour with Shane Morrow

Saturday, Sept. 18, 11-12:30 p.m. and 3-4:30 p.m.

Waterhouse Pavilion

850 Market St.

Registration required.


The Legacy of Lynching and the Soul of America:

A Conversation with Jon Meacham and Eddie Glaude, Jr.

Saturday, Sept. 18, 5-6 p.m.

Olivet Baptist Church

740 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.

Masks and registration are required.

Temperature checks required upon arrival.


Keeody Gallery Presents: Visuals for the Voiceless

Saturday, Sept. 18, 6-8 p.m.

Arts Build

301 E. 11th St. No. 300

No registration required


The Tomb of Ed Johnson and the Resurrection of Christ

Sunday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The Hamilton County Courthouse Lawn

625 Georgia Ave.

No registration required.

Bring lawn chairs for seating.


The Ed Johnson Memorial Dedication

Sunday, Sept. 19, 3-4:30 p.m.

South side of the Walnut Street Bridge

Ed Johnson Memorial Site

100 Walnut St.

No registration required.

Media Relations Contacts: Email UTC Media Relations or call 423-425-5119.
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