Filmed by Anthony Suggs - Edited by Dara Ollman - Music by Barry Ollman
Limon Soil Collection
In October 2018, on a sunny but windy and cool day, three coalition members drove to Limon to collect soil from the site of Preston "John" Porter Jr.'s Lynching.
It was immediately sobering to realize that the road from Denver to Limon, I-70, runs for most of the way alongside the railroad track, the same railroad track that Preston had taken almost 120 years ago. He would have seen the same sights; the same curves in the landscape.
When we arrived, we met up with our Limon contact, Cleta Hiner-Felzien, who took us to the railroad. The closest we could get to the site was about a mile away, so we walked that last mile on the tracks.
It was impossible to tell exactly where the site was; we were out on the plains with wide-open skies and only one ranch house in sight. From the pictures we had, and the descriptions we'd read, we found a place that seemed likely to be the spot and we began to dig.
After finishing the collection there was a moment of silence and sharing. Cleta said we can't change what happened but we can do this. And, Judy, one of the coalition members, expressed "Even though I don't want to be in this position, as a white person I am representing the white people who did this to John (Preston), I just have to accept that. And so I just want to say to John (Preston) that, I'm so sorry that we did this to you, it was unconscionable, that it was a terrible terrible thing that should never have happened, you shouldn't have had to suffer in this way."
Preston's presence was palpable in our thoughts and hearts. He was not forgotten; we were remembering him, and the excruciating horror that he had endured in this place. We remembered that he had been abandoned by any semblance of the rule of law, which could have saved him.