National Memorial for Peace & Justice
DESCRIPTION: Top-Tier Slavery, Lynching & Civil Rights Memorial
ADMISSION: Adults $10, Students & Seniors Age $7, Age 6 and under enter FREE
DAYS & HOURS: Daily 9a-6p
ADDRESS: 417 Caroline Street, Montgomery, AL
National Memorial for Peace & Justice Review
Opened in April 2018, is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people and people terrorized by lynching. Set on a 6-acre site, the memorial uses sculpture, art, and design to contextualize racial terror. The site includes a memorial square with 800 six-foot monuments to symbolize thousands of racial terror lynching victims in the United States and the counties and states where this terrorism took place. It also reckons with the subject of African-Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence. The memorial was born from Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) staff began investigating thousands of racial terror lynchings in the American South, many of which had never been documented. EJI was interested in lynching, terror incidents and sanctioned violence against the black community. That background led six million black people to flee, weakening the Southern economy for decades. Their research produced Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror in 2015 which documented thousands of racial terror lynchings in twelve states. Those moving results inspired EJI staff to embark on a project to memorialize this history by visiting hundreds of lynching sites, collecting soil, and erecting public markers. Hence, the National Memorial for Peace & Justice was conceived with the hope of creating a sober, meaningful site where people can gather and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality. EJI partnered with artists like Kwame Akoto-Bamfo whose sculpture on slavery confronts visitors when they first enter the memorial. EJI then leads visitors on a journey from slavery, through lynching and racial terror, with text, narrative, and monuments to the lynching victims in America. In the center of the site, visitors will encounter a memorial square, created with assistance from the Mass Design Group. The memorial experience continues through the civil rights era made visible with a sculpture by Dana King dedicated to the women who sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Finally, the memorial journey ends with contemporary issues of police violence and racially biased criminal justice expressed in a final work created by Hank Willis Thomas. The memorial displays writing from Toni Morrison, words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a reflection space in honor of Ida B. Wells.