Sunday, January 15, 2006

Richwood Mayor hopes to save old City Hall

Twenty years before I was born, an infamous and important civil rights injustice took place in my hometown. Now, 50 years later, a building that was the site of this event is an abandoned, crumbling ruin.

The old Richwood City Hall is a former movie theater that served as the center of town government for most of my childhood is falling apart. There was a small parking area in the front for the town’s police cars and a small office to pay your water bill. Until the renovations and addition of the City Water Office there was a full garage that was home to the city’s fire trucks.

The infamous civil rights injustice took place in 1940 when two Jehovah’s Witnesses came to town and began going door to door distributing literature and circulating a petition asking for support in a fight with the governor of Ohio over his denial of using the Ohio State Fairgrounds for the Jehovah’s Witnesses national convention.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail recounts the rest of the story of mob justice and the first federal ruling that says law enforcement officers are required to protect the civil rights of citizens.


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