Lynching Memorial Opens in Alabama

John Hill
25. April 2018
Photo courtesy of Equal Justice Initiative

The Equal Justice Initiative's National Memorial for Peace and Justice is opening to the public on Thursday, April 26, in Montgomery, Alabama, accompanied by several days of educational panels and presentations, performances, and concerts.

EJI's memorial is billed as the United States' "first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence."

The design by Boston's MASS Design Group is a square pavilion surrounding a central green space. Hanging from the roof of the pavilion are weathered steel columns that contain the names of more than 4,400 victims of lynchings, many of them unknown. Each of the 800 columns corresponds to a county where lynchings took place. 

​A park adjacent to the pavilion consists of 800 duplicate columns that are meant to be distributed (by request) to the corresponding counties, something that will broaden the memorial's physical presence but more importantly signal that those places are addressing racial and economic injustice.

Photo courtesy of Equal Justice Initiative

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice sits on an open site south of downtown Montgomery, while the accompanying Legacy Museum (also opening Thursday) is located downtown in a warehouse that was once part of the city's slave trade.

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