July 6, 2023
Helice Jones, Erik Irtenkauf and Alice Cannon will present the story of the Free Union Fire of 1896
One White man died in a fire in Free Union on a cold January night in 1896 and four Black Men fell under suspicion for his death. One was hanged, one sent to the penitentiary for 18 years, one sentenced to five years in prison and one testified to the untrue story that convicted the others and he went free.
Helice Jones is a descendant of Taylor Harmon, who was executed. Alice Cannon has been researching this difficult narrative since Helice told her about it and Erik has mapped the extensive network of people involved as witnesses or suspects in the aftermath of the fire.