The Equal Justice Initiative will open America’s first national memorial dedicated to victims of racial terror lynching and a new museum dedicated to slavery and its legacy on April 26, 2018, in Montgomery, Alabama.
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice 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.
A few blocks away from the memorial, EJI will open The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, which explores slavery, lynching, segregation, and mass incarceration in America on a site where enslaved people were once warehoused. Located a few steps away from what was once one of the most prominent slave markets in America, and from a port and rail station that trafficked thousands of enslaved black people in the mid-19th century, the new narrative museum will offer ground-breaking, interactive content that takes visitors on a journey through our nation’s difficult past. Sculpture, fine art, and technology will be combined with original research and multi-media presentations to create a unique cultural experience.
The museum and memorial are part of EJI's work to advance truth and reconciliation around race in America and to more honestly confront the legacy of slavery, lynching, and segregation. "Our nation's history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape," EJI Director Bryan Stevenson explains. "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."
Modeled on important projects used to overcome difficult histories of genocide, apartheid, and horrific human rights abuses in other countries, EJI’s sites are designed to promote a more hopeful commitment to racial equality and just treatment of all people.
The April 26 opening will be accompanied by several days of educational panels and presentations from leading national figures, performances and concerts from acclaimed recording artists, and a large opening ceremony. From April 26-29, EJI is expecting thousands of visitors to travel to Montgomery to celebrate the launch of these important new American institutions.
Tickets for admission to the museum and the memorial are now available at museumandmemorial.eji.org. Additional information about the opening program activities is expected to be available in the coming weeks.