Bowman Cook and John Morine were dragged from jail and lynched Sept. 8, 1919. A gathering is planned Sunday to mark the anniversary.

Bowman Cook and John Morine were killed a century ago in the dark of night.

They’ll be remembered in daylight Sunday, beside a place where thousands of other Jacksonville residents have been laid to rest.

Outside Evergreen Cemetery, people will gather at 3 p.m. for a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the day the two black men were dragged from Duval County’s jail and lynched by a mob of angry white men.

They’ll collect soil there — near where researchers think the killings happened — to put in jars with the murdered men’s names on them. Those will be displayed later at Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History.

The gathering will be the first ceremony in Jacksonville for the Community Remembrance Project, a volunteer campaign encouraging people to talk about racial violence that helped shape the city.

How many people will show up is an open question.

“We have no idea,” said Lynn Sherman, co-chair of the Community Remembrance Project. “We hope there are … people from the community who feel a connection to this, who will show up, who will come and be part of the commemoration.”

The group has worked since last year to research killings that an activist organization, the Equal Justice Initiative, has labeled racial terror lynchings.

There are seven on the list in Duval County, and more than 4,000 around the country from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century.

Cook and Morine were hard to miss on that list.

The men had been charged with murder after a white businessman, the brother of a justice of the peace, was killed in a fight in downtown’s La Villa area.

They were jail inmates when another black man was charged with molesting a 12-year-old white girl and about 50 armed white men decided to take the molester from jail and kill him.

The Associated Press carried a clinical description of the Sept. 8, 1919, jail assault where that crowd found the molester had already been moved out of town to protect his life.

“Arriving at the jail and not finding this negro, the mob took the other two and put them to death,” the AP reported.

“… Answering a knock at the front door of the jail shortly after 1:00 a.m., Jailer Tucker was covered with pistols and ordered to make no move or outcry. He was quickly handcuffed, relieved of his keys and ordered to point out the tier of cells in which the negroes were confined. The men apparently knew the negroes and after securing them quietly left the jail.”

Cook and Morine were driven to the city’s outskirts, riddled with bullets and had ropes tied around their necks, news accounts said.

Cook’s body was dragged downtown behind a car until it reached the exclusive Windsor Hotel, where the federal courthouse stands now across the street from Hemming Park. The rope broke and the body lay in the street until police found him. Morine’s body was found near the cemetery, in the area researchers think the lynchings happened.

No one was ever charged with the killings.

Volunteers with the remembrance project tried to reach families of the dead men, but haven’t been able to, Sherman said, so the ceremony Sunday is for anyone who feels drawn to commemorate the day.

Ministers have been invited, and musicians, a choir and a spoken word artist have been scheduled to perform on public land next to the cemetery at 4535 N. Main St.

After the jars are filled, they’ll be returned to MOSH, where they’ve been sitting empty as part of a display on lynchings, said curator Paul Bourcier.

A duplicate pair of jars will be sent to a national lynching memorial the Equal Justice Initiative operates in Montgomery, Ala. More soil collections are planned at other lynching sites around Jacksonville.

Steve Patterson: (904) 359-4263