This weekend, a Pennsylvania city marks a grim anniversary. One hundred years ago Saturday, Zachariah Walker was burned alive by an angry mob in Coatesville, Chester County. Walker, a black steelworker, murdered a white security officer, and angry white residents enacted vigilante justice. “That tension that was created a hundred years ago is still over the city. It’s still a cloud over the city,” said Tonya Thames Taylor, co-chair of the Coatesville Historic Commission. The commission is hosting a panel discussion to explore the historic significance of the lynching, and to discuss possible avenues for reconciliation.
“Zacharia Walker was never properly buried,” said Thames Taylor. “The only remains that they actually had of Zacharia Walker fit in a shoebox. No one knows where that shoebox is.” Descendants of both Walker and the man he murdered, Edgar Rice, are expected to attend. The panel runs from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. tomorrow at the Lukens Executive Office Building in Coatesville.