Committee The Ed Johnson Committee was formed in 2016, comprised of a group of citizens who believed the Chattanooga community needed to find a way to better tell the Ed Johnson story, a part of American history that changed the justice system. The diverse group includes members who had previously contributed to remembering the Ed Johnson story by getting a state resolution passed, writing a play about him and maintaining the cemetery where he is buried. In addition to creating a public space, the Committee is helping fund a documentary, funding a scholarship and creating a website with all known information about the story. The committee has gained support from the Chattanooga mayor and city council, as well as key stakeholders in the community. It has created a fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. It is now working with Public Art Chattanooga to create this commemorative public space.

Our mission

To promote racial healing and reconciliation in Chattanooga by creating a permanent memorial which acknowledges the lynching of Ed Johnson, honors the courageous work of the attorneys and others who stood up for equal justice, and recognizes the resulting United States Supreme Court case that established federal oversight of state level civil rights issues then and now.

Meet the committee

LaFrederick Thirkill, Co-chair

LaFrederick is a native Chattanoogan, a local performing artist, an educator and a historian.




Mel Cooper

Mel is a community volunteer, a seeker for greater harmony in our community and a believer in the transforming power of listening to each other's life story.



Katharine McCallie Gardner

Kathy is a native Chattanoogan, a lover of justice, a seeker of mercy and a whitewater kayaker.




Michelle Phillips Schrader

Michelle is a beloved and inspired daughter. She is the daughter of Leroy Phillips, who co-authored the book "Contempt of Court."



Elizabeth Williams

Elizabeth is an educator, an art lover and a fierce preservationist.





Kay Parish

Kay Parish grew up in Memphis and moved to Chattanooga in 1977. After a career in non-profit management, writing, and design, she has found that the Ed Johnson Project is helping her make a small personal impact on the justice she has always known is needed for America. She does not like to have her picture taken.

Eric Atkins

Kevin Bate

Donivan Brown

Jann Sullivan

Cameron Williams

Chris Woodhull

Steve Derthick, Co-chair





Eleanor Cooper

Eleanor, a Chattanooga native, is an author and a community activist specializing in community strategies, visioning and engagement.



Mariann Martin, Coordinator

Mariann is a writer and educator who believes history and the stories we tell can be a powerful way of understanding and changing our world.



Beth Murphy

Beth is a daughter, mother, and grandmother. She is an energetic adventurer.




Bruce Stewart

Bruce is the son of Scottish immigrants, born in Massachusetts. A Quaker educator, he spent 50 years seeking to live up to the words of George Fox, who said, "Walk softly over the earth seeking that of God in everyone."



Ellis Gardner

Ellis is a native of Chattanooga.  After retiring from professional football, Ellis and his wife Kathy moved back to Chattanooga to raise their two children.  He is a licensed Relator selling homes all over the greater Chattanooga area.


Alexis Dupoux

Linda Duvoisin, Filmmaker

Kathleen Hunt

Nikki Lewis

James McKissic

Scott Schrader