HERRIN — If you ever wanted to know more about the Herrin Massacre and see the sites associated with it, now is the time.
The massacre of the miners and guards at the Lester strip mine at the start of summer in 1922 has long marked Bloody Williamson on the nation’s conscious, now residents and tourists wanting to know more of that event will have the opportunity with two bus tours scheduled for last two Saturdays in July, the 19th and 26th.
Carbondale school board member Amy Erickson is the organizer after realizing she had worked just down the road from the mine site for years without knowing. After a recent trip to Rwanda and Burundi in Africa where both nations had experienced hardships and massacres she realized the importance of how history, remembered, could be.
“It’s a small world. I found it uncanny that in each of these situations, regardless of size or amount of people who lost their lives, rich natural resources were at its root, fueled by fear of your neighbor, fear of loss, and the big one – lack of intervention of law and order, where no one was willing to stop the violence and bring justice,” she said.
While Erickson will serve as the tour’s host, area historian and author Jon Musgrave will cover the history as lead guide. The tours will include stops at Station Carbondale, the former Illinois Central Railroad station in Carbondale, the Herrin City Cemetery and the Williamson County Jail Museum.
Visitors can expect new experiences and information. Families are welcome. Seats are $45 per person.
The tour will follow as much as the original route as possible highlighting the events of the two-day outbreak of violence that took place June 21-22, 1922.
“Days are different now, people handled things differently back then. People didn’t talk about their grief, and it took a long time to have things surface. It’s good for our communities to get past the uncomfortable feelings and celebrate the great things we have today. And never forget the great things we want to keep,” encouraged Erickson.
The tour will include a sit down lunch. There will be giveaways and souvenirs. The trip will begin loading the bus at 9 a.m., depart at 9:30 a.m. and conclude by 2:30 p.m. at the Williamson County Historical Museum.
Persons interested should visit www.herrinmassacretour.com or call (618) 751-2924 to purchase seats or request information. Sponsors include the Williamson County Historical Museum, CAPS (Connecting All Parents with School) and ArtStarts.