$2OK Raised To Help NC Man Who Survived 1952 Lynching Attempt

HOLLY SPRINGS, NC — Lynn Council has experienced some terrible things in his 87 years — an attempted lynching nearly seven decades ago certainly qualifies — but the Holly Springs, North Carolina, octogenarian is now basking in the kindness of his neighbors.

Council was still a teenager in 1952 when he was wrongfully accused of robbery. He wouldn’t confess, even when a racist police chief in Apex, North Carolina, beat him.

So the chief recruited a couple of deputies from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, who strung him up by his neck on an oak tree. He still didn’t confess, so the deputies cut him down.

Last year, Council finally got an apology for the lynching attempt and a bench named in his honor on the Apex Police Department lawn. Inscribed on the plaque are these words:

“We are indebted to you for speaking out and raising awareness of an incident that was all but lost to history. Your courage and resilience has brought a perspective to a time in our history that needed to be acknowledged and remembered.”

Council’s life went on after the terrifying encounter with police in 1952.

Now, he is being forced out of his Holly Springs home, where he has lived for 61 years, because an extension of North Carolina Highway 540 will cut right through his property. He’s closing on a new home he will share with his daughter, but was sitting on a pile of debt. He remodeled his house 20 years ago with a federal loan that targeted low-income senior citizens; the loan was forgivable as long as Council remained in the home, but upon moving, he would owe $20,000.

He didn’t have the money. But his neighbors did. A GoFundMe campaign raised the $20,000 and then some. A few of the more than 500 people who donated made triple-digit donations, but mostly the money was raised through contributions of $10, $25 and $50.

Holly Springs resident Garrett Raczek organized the crowdfunding campaign four days ago after officials from the NAACP Raleigh-Apex branch and Council’s attorney were unable to get the debt forgiven.

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“It’s now up to our community to stand in solidarity with Mr. Council as he continues to face adversity in his later years,” Raczek wrote.

People not only gave their money but also offered to help Council move, Raczek wrote, noting, “a member of our community needed help and you stepped up.”

Council is beyond grateful.

“I sure thank the Lord for the gifts. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, Lord,” Council said at a news conference Monday, according to a WCTI report.

Raczek is grateful, too.

“My family has always taught me a simple yet profound idea that when someone needs help, you help them,” he told news station WTVD. “And it’s quite clear that there are many others in this community right now who also embrace that idea.”

GoFundMe is a Patch promotional partner.

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