Legacy Museum and Lynching Memorial Receive International Coverage

Monument for LaFourche Parish, Louisiana

The Guardian profiled EJI's new museum and memorial for a global audience in a recent article featuring an interview with EJI director Bryan Stevenson.

 

Montgomery, Alabama -- a "symbolic epicenter for the 400-odd year odyssey of white supremacy" in the United States -- was a central hub of the domestic slave trade, making it an ideal location for the Legacy Museum. The museum itself is on the site of a building that once warehoused enslaved people alongside livestock and cotton before they could be sold at auction in the town square.

 

Rather than focus on historical artifacts, the museum intends to walk visitors through a comprehensive narrative of racial injustice in America, starting with enslavement.

 

“It all begins with enslavement and the ideology of white supremacy and what follows is lynching, segregation and many of the issues that we’re dealing with today," Stevenson told the Guardian.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice connects with the museum's narrative about the era of racial terror lynchings. The six-acre national lynching memorial will honor the lives of more than 4400 African Americans lynched from 1877 to 1950, whose names will be engraved on duplicate sets of columns, two for each county where a lynching was documented.

 

Counties will be invited to claim their columns and install them at original lynching sites, "like a dandelion shedding spores of memoriam across the nation," as the Guardian put it.

 

Together, the museum and memorial are designed to advance truth and reconciliation. As Stevenson explained:

 

“You have to tell the truth before you can get to reconciliation, and culturally we have done a terrible job of truth telling in this country about our history of racial inequality. I see these projects as an effort to respond to the absence of truth and the silence that has haunted us – black, white and other – for too long."