George Tompkins was born on November 20th, 1902 in Frankfurt, Kentucky. Around 1920, Tompkins relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana with some of his extended family. On the morning of March 16th, 1922, Tompkins left his residence at around 7:30 in the morning. In the early afternoon of that same day, Tompkins’ body was discovered in the area known today as Riverside Park. The scene surrounding the body led many to believe that he had been lynched. However, despite evidence to the contrary, the official conclusion by investigating detectives and the assistant medical examiner was that Tompkins had died by suicide. At the young age of just nineteen years old, George Tompkins short life had ended and he was buried in an unmarked grave in Floral Park Cemetery in Indianapolis.
Almost a century later, a group of individuals dedicated to racial justice uncovered Tompkins’ story and decided that something needed to be done. In the hopes of providing a sense of justice all these years later, the IRC is actively working to make George Tompkins’ story known. The public knowledge of his story, as well as the ceremony and programming associated with it, will hopefully assist the local and surrounding communities in achieving a sense of catharsis surrounding this tragedy.