The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) plans to build a national memorial to victims of lynching and open a museum that explores African American history from enslavement to mass incarceration. Both the museum and memorial will be located in Montgomery, Alabama. Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy and founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, talked about this when he spoke to 900 people in Austin, TX. There is interest in Austin to participate in this project. Stay tuned for more information.
From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration will be situated within 150 yards of one of the South’s most prominent slave auction sites and the Alabama River dock and rail station where tens of thousands of enslaved black people were trafficked. The museum will contain high-tech exhibits, artifacts, recordings, and films, as well as comprehensive data and information on lynching and racial segregation. The museum will connect the history of racial inequality with contemporary issues of mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and police violence.
The Memorial to Peace and Justice will sit on six acres of land in Montgomery and become the nation’s first national memorial to victims of lynching. The massive structure will contain the names of over 4000 lynching victims engraved on concrete columns representing each county in the United States where racial terror lynchings took place. Counties across the country will be invited to retrieve duplicate columns with the names of each county’s lynching victims to be placed in every county.
In February 2015, EJI released Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, a ground-breaking report that documents more than 4000 lynchings of black people in the United States between 1877 and 1950. EJI identified several hundred more lynchings than had previously been recognized. For a copy of the full report, please contact EJI. A summary of the report is available here.
The national memorial to lynching victims will be one of the nation’s most ambitious projects relating to the history of racial terror lynchings. EJI has purchased six acres of land atop a rise that overlooks the City of Montgomery and out to the American South, where terror lynchings were most prevalent.