Visitor Observes that EJI's Sites Compel Honest Reckoning with the Past

Memorial by visitor Warren Alan Tidwell

A few days after visiting the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Warren Alan Tidwell shared his reflections in a thoughtful and compelling blog post.

 

He wrote that the sites "serve as reminders of the harsh realities of the past and as a guidepost to a better future."

 

On a cold, overcast February day, Mr. Tidwell watched as his nearly 11-year-old son walked quietly around the memorial, looking up at the monuments and softly reading the names of people who were victims of racial terror lynchings.

 

In that moment I knew why this place must exist, why it has to survive to tell the stories to other generations. Before it we didn't know the names and we didn't truly know the horrors of the era. It IS a place to remember and a reminder of an era we must somehow come to grips with as a country. It is also a reminder of all of the unresolved racial issues that still exist in the United States and how we still fight to acknowledge these issues and refuse to face them honestly.

 

Mr. Tidwell observed that we continue to pay a price for avoiding our unresolved history. He noted that confronting the "shameful era" of lynching requires a willingness to be uncomfortable in order to engage in honest discussions about race and our history of racial injustice.

 

That's the importance of this memorial in Alabama. Honesty. It offers a raw and honest, unflinching and unfiltered view into an era many had hoped to sweep under the rug. It tells a story of an time that sent refugees fleeing oppression to hopefully find peace under the warmth of other suns. It tells a story that, in many ways, we are still living today.