Milwaukee lynching victim George Marshall Clark receives headstone after 160 years

September 16, 2021

Nearly two centuries after he was brutally lynched, the City of Milwaukee is remembering the life of George Marshall Clark with a monument to ensure his story is not forgotten.

“I think this is needed. And it’s about time,” said artist Tyrone Randale, Jr.

Clark was only 22 years old when his life was cut short.

“He was a well-thought-of young man, well-liked, and just coming into the prime of his life at the time that he lost his life,” said Reggie Jackson, co-owner of Nurturing Diversity Partners.

According to historical experts, George Marshall Clark had lived in Milwaukee with his roommate at the time of his murder.

“There’s one version that says they were accompanied by two white women and they were accosted by two white men who weren’t happy to see these two black men with white women,” said Jackson.

They started fighting, and Clark’s roommate, James Shelton, stabbed and killed one of the men, and news of his death spread fast. A mob formed and lynched Clark.

“They ended up lynching him right on the corner of Water and Buffalo Street, left his body hanging there for several hours,” said Jackson.

After learning about his story, Milwaukee native Tyrone Randale, Jr., said he wanted to pay his respects to Clark who was buried at Forest Home Cemetery – only to find that there was no headstone.

“That was kind of really disheartening, it was appalling, it made me angry and sad,” said Randale Jr.

Which is why he decided to do something about it, and raised the money so Clark could finally have a grave marker and resting place.

“Let’s honor him and humanize him again by putting the proper headstone where he’s buried,” said Jackson.

The hope is the community will acknowledge the harsh reality of history and make sure it never repeats itself.

“It’s 160 years too long but also 160 years on time because stuff needs to change now, and I think that’s only going to happen if the truth is unveiled,” said Randale Jr.