A remarkable project is underway to memorialize the thousands of victims of lynching. The project is spearheaded by Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative.
It is a somber, almost hauntingly beautiful work of art and will list the names of the U.S.’s 4,000 lynching victims, as well as place historical markers (similar to the one pictured above) in each of the more than 800 counties across the country where the lynchings took place.
The video below of the EJI Project’s memorial, which is scheduled to open next fall, begins with these words that (should) put into context the difference between the proposed memorial and those memorials to the Confederacy that abound throughout the Southern U.S.
We build monuments to remember the histories we cannot and should not forget. In the U.S. however, historical markers are sometimes used to distract us from our true history. This is the case in Montgomery, Alabama, where dozens of markers commemorate the history of the confederacy but very few mark the history of slavery.
There are almost no markers to the history of lynching.
This event will not be following by a barbecue.
One can only wonder how long it will be before we erect a similar memorial, not for the victims of lynching, but for victims of the thousands of police executions that replaced them.