UPDATE: The artist chosen to create the Ed Johnson Memorial will be announced on March 19 at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

In 1906, 24-year-old Johnson was lynched on the Walnut Bridge. Now, a permanent memorial to him will be at the south end of the Walnut Street Bridge. The announcement will commemorate his death 112 years later.

The documentary "I Am A Innocent Man: the Ed Johnson Story" will be shown. 

The events will be held at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center on 200 E MLK Boulevard at 6 p.m.


PREVIOUS STORY: One local group is trying to make sure a tragic part of Chattanooga's history is never forgotten.

The group's goal is to honor the life of Ed Johnson, a black man who was lynched on the Walnut Street Bridge in 1906.

The Ed Johnson Project was created last year.

Channel 3 spoke with LaFrederick Thirkill who is leading the committee. He says his story is an important part of Chattanooga's history.

“We believe that this story should be heard and known by people all around the world,” Thirkill tells Channel 3.

LaFrederick Thirkill has helped share Ed Johnson's story for the past 17 years.

Johnson, a 24-year-old black man, was accused of raping a white woman and sentenced to death in 1906.

“The Supreme Court intervened into the state ruling and ordered a stay of execution but in the meantime a mob broke into the jail and led Johnson to the Walnut Street Bridge where he was lynched,” says Thirkill.

White flowers decorate Johnson’s tombstone more than 100 years later.

Engraved are words that are believed to be Johnson’s last, "God Bless You All. I Am A Innocent Man."

As people walk, run, and bike across the bridge, there's no mention of Johnson. Thirkill says a place that attracts thousands is the perfect spot to honor him.

“Then it becomes a memorial, a place where healing can happen and a place where reconciliation can happen and a place where people can come and share their stories about how they are working toward race relations in Chattanooga,” says Thirkill.

Thirkill says at the end of the day, the memorial isn't about the color of one's skin. It's about coming together as one.

“It's not talking about division, it's talking about inclusion,” Thirkill says. “It's talking about bringing two races together, but it's also not even like a civil rights issue because it's not about a struggle but it's one that honors the life of a man.”

About 30 artists have submitted designs of the Ed Johnson monument.

Members of the Ed Johnson Project will reveal the finalists next week.

Click here if you'd like to help with the monument.