In this Wednesday, April 10, 2019, photo Mylinda Byrd Washington, 66, right, and Louvon Byrd Harris, 61, hold up photographs of their brother James Byrd Jr. in Houston. James Byrd Jr. was the victim of what is considered to be one of the most gruesome hate crime murders in recent Texas history. (AP Photo/Juan Lozano)

Texas town reflects on dragging death ahead of execution

April 21, 2019 - 8:26 am

JASPER, Texas (AP) — A Texas town is still haunted by a gruesome hate crime in which a black man was dragged behind a pickup truck and killed by three white men nearly 21 years ago.

The history of Jasper will be revisited Wednesday, when the ringleader responsible for the brutal 1998 killing of James Byrd Jr. is scheduled to be executed.

Jasper leaders say their community's reputation as a place of racial unrest and intolerance is undeserved.

But other townspeople, as well as members of Byrd's family, believe Jasper has never fully accepted the crime's place in its history. They say some tensions between the white and black communities remain unresolved.

Byrd's family still hopes to build a multicultural center and museum in Jasper to promote diversity and education.

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