In the last post I described the Legacy Museum here. The same organization, Equal Justice Initiative, headed by Bryan Stevenson, created and built the National Memorial for Peace and Justice on a sloping lot above downtown.
The Memorial is even more powerful than the Museum. It is organized loosely in a spiral with each county where a lynching occurred having a column, and each such column naming the victims whose death could be documented from two sources.
There are 803 counties represented with more than 4,400 victims listed. The columns continue as you move through the display but as the floor heads downward, they are suspended from the ceiling, so that all are on the same level. The “spiral” culminates in a concrete wall with water running over it, which is dedicated to the countless victims whose names are lost, but who are believed to vastly outnumber the 4,400.
Outside, lying flat, are duplicates of the columns, which are intended as public memorials in each of the counties. For a county to get their memorial, they must have the approval of the appropriate local governmental body and an agreement that it will be displayed and maintained in the town square or similar public space. To date, no county has claimed their memorial, though, as the docent pointed out, there is a required process and this Memorial just opened in April.
In some ways, the design of this installation is very simple, but it was obviously done with great thought and care, and the impact is indescribable. If you ever get anywhere near Montgomery, do not fail to visit this wonderful and sobering tribute.