EJI Director Bryan Stevenson appeared as a guest on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah last night, along with singer/songwriter Andra Day, to talk about the importance of acknowledging America’s history of racial injustice and memorializing victims of racial terror.
Mr. Stevenson discussed the need for projects such as EJI’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which will attempt to address truthfully our history of racial terrorism by commemorating the lives of over 4,000 African Americans who were lynched and murdered in the American South. “I think we’re burdened by our history of inequality that we haven’t really addressed. And so we’re trying to change that.”
“For me,” Mr. Stevenson said, “the great evil of American slavery wasn’t involuntary servitude, it wasn’t forced labor: it was this ideology of white supremacy. It was this idea that black people weren’t like white people.”
Reckoning with this history and starting a truthful conversation around racial terror and lynchings can provide an important way to move forward.
On the show, Andra Day performed a rendition of Billie Holiday’s classic anti-lynching anthem, Strange Fruit.