The original capital of the Confederacy, a city once mired in racism, will soon redefine its legacy when it opens the nation’s first memorial dedicated to lynching victims and a new museum dedicated to slavery in the spring.
The memorial, devoted to 4,075 blacks EJI’s research shows were killed by lynching in the U.S. from 1877 to 1950, will acknowledge an era of racial terror in the United States when thousands of African Americans were lynched and publicly tortured, sometimes in the presence of thousands of people.
Designed with hundreds of six-foot, corten steel monuments aligned in a structure that sits above the city of Montgomery, EJI’s memorial will feature new sculptures from African and African American artists that explore slavery, segregation, and contemporary issues of racial inequality.
The spacious park holding the memorial will include a monument for every county in America where a racial terror lynching took place that can be claimed by community groups and installed locally.
“Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape,” Bryan Stevenson, director of EJI, said in a statement. “This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice.”
The six-acre site will also feature a museum, From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, a few blocks away from the memorial that will be situated within 150 yards of one of the South’s most prominent slave auction sites, near the Alabama River dock and rail station where tens of thousands of enslaved black people were trafficked.
Check out a preview of the memorial below: