Wiley Immanuel Lash Marker, Salisbury
The marker is a plaque honoring Wiley Immanuel Lash, Salisbury's first African American Mayor. It is bronze and contains a lengthy inscription. In the upper right corner of the plaque is a bas-relief of Lash from the waist up; in the bottom left there is a seal. The monument is a Salisbury History and Art Trail Marker, supported by the Salisbury Public Art Committee. It is in celebration of the life and deeds of Lash, the first (and as of 2008, the only) African American Mayor of Salisbury.
WILEY IMMANUEL LASH/ BUSINESSMAN. POLITICAL ACTIVIST. HUMANITARIAN / FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN MAYOR OF SALISBURY / WILEY IMMANUEL LASH (1908-1995), SON OF THE REVEREND / WILEY H. AND MAYZONETTA “MARY” GRUNDY LASH RECEIVED HIS/ EDUCATION AT A LOCAL BLACK PAROCHIAL SCHOOL AND LIVINGSTONE / COLLEGE. HE ROSE TO POLITICAL PROMINENCE IN THE NEGRO CIVIC/ LEAGUE WHERE HE SPEARHEADED A DRIVE TO REGISTER VOTERS / AND WORKED FOR BETTER FACILITIES, JOBS, AND SCHOOLS FOR/ BLACK CITIZENS. WIDELY RESPECTED IN THE COMMUNITY, / LASH ADVOCATED PEACEFUL INTEGRATION IN THE 1960S. / AFTER SERVING 15 YEARS ON THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, HE / WAS ELECTED TO THE CITY COUNCIL IN 1979 AND WAS / APPOINTED MAYOR PRO TEM. LASH BECAME MAYOR IN / 1981 AND UPON FINISHING HIS TERM IN 1985, HE WAS NAMED SALISBURY’S / FIRST HONORARY MAYOR./ FOR YEARS LASH OWNED AND OPERATED A SELF-SERVICE / GROCERY AT 129 EAST COUNCIL STREET. THE STORE WAS / AN INFORMAL HUB FOR POLITICAL ACTIVISM AND A PLACE/ WHERE THE DESERVING POOR WERE NEVER TURNED AWAY. / “LET US START ANEW, AND SO LIVE THAT ALL OUR TIES WILL BIND US/ TO THE LIFE THAT IS NOBLE FOR OURSELVES AND FOR HUMANITY” / - WILEY LASH / 2008
June 28, 2008
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"The Wiley Lash Collection," The Wiley Lash Digital Archive of Rowan County, (accessed February 2, 2012) Link
The Salisbury Post (Salisbury, NC), June 30, 2008, 1
Nagem, Sarah. "City Dedicates Marker to First Black Mayor," The Salisbury Post (Salisbury, NC), June 30, 2008, (accessed June 25, 2012) Link
Salisbury Public Art Committee
Councilman William "Pete" Kennedy and Mayor Susan W. Klutz unveiled the marker. Many of Lash's family members were in attendance at the ceremony.
Wiley Immanuel Lash was born in 1908. Lash returned to Salisbury after his graduation from college and became the sole owner and manager of Lash's Self-Service Grocery on East Council Street. He had owned the store with his brother since 1929. It was one of the first black businesses in downtown Salisbury, and it served as an informal hub for political activism and social services for the needy. Wiley began his career as a political activist by participating in Salisbury's Negro Civic League. He spearheaded voter registration drives in the black community and served on boards which covered virtually every area of the life of the city. In 1979 Wiley became a member of City Council and Mayor Pro Tem. Wiley was reelected in 1981, winning the largest number of votes on the Council to become the City's first black mayor. When his term ended in 1985, Wiley was honored as the city's first Honorary Mayor.
The monument is positioned on the wall of a public building on East Council Street in Salisbury.