Apr 16, 2018

A new memorial and museum addressing America’s history of lynching and racism will open in Alabama next week.

The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama will be inaugurated through a two day summit focused on peace and justice starting on April 26th. The expansive six-acre site houses the U.S.’s “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,” according to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), which oversaw the creation of the museum and memorial. The memorial component is comprised of 800 monuments, and each one represents a county where lynching occurred and is inscribed with the names of those who were murdered. The museum houses a variety of objects addressing racism in America’s past and present––from artworks by Hank Willis Thomas, Glenn Ligon, Jacob Lawrence, and Elizabeth Catlett to a collection of jars that contain soil from lynching sites. The museum and memorial came to fruition through the effort of the EJI, with an estimated $20 million in funding coming from donors including Google and the Ford Foundation. “There is still so much to be done in this country to recover from our history of racial inequality,” Bryan Stevenson, EJI’s founding director, told The Art Newspaper. “We can achieve more in America when we commit to truth-telling about our past.”