08/29/2013 12:27 pm ET

Shaffer Chapel, Which Opposed KKK In Muncie, Indiana, Now Needs Financial Help

]On August 7, 1930, two black teenagers, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were kidnapped from the Marion City, Ind. Jail by an angry mob and hanged from a tree on the Courthouse lawn. They had been charged with armed robbery, murder, and rape of a white factory worker and his companion.

It was the last lynching ever to happen north of the Mason-Dixon line, and the iconic photo taken of the two young men hanging from the tree inspired Billie Holiday's haunting song, "Strange Fruit."

The story didn't end there, however. Despite the furious crowd surrounding the swinging bodies, members of Shaffer Chapel in Muncie, Indiana, braved the mob in order to retrieve the bodies and give them a decent burial.

Gunmen reportedly perched atop the church when rumors of a Ku Klux Klan march arose, as the KKK wanted to steal the bodies from the mortuary. Luckily, the teens were buried before that could happen. Now the church that defied the Klan is fighting a different sort of battle -- the struggle to stay afloat financially.

The house of worship needs $60,000 by end of September to carry out crucial repairs. The church is an important part of civil rights history, and its leaders hope that donors will stand by it in a time of need.

A church member commented in the video above, "We have to understand our history before we can move forward and realize that all of those things that happened 83 years ago, that's part of us."



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