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Thu, 04.26.2018

The National Memorial For Peace And Justice Opens

*On this date in 2018, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, opened.  This is a national memorial to commemorate the Black victims of lynching in the United States.

It is intended to focus on and acknowledge past racial terrorism and advocate for social justice in America. Founded by the non-profit Equal Justice Initiative, it opened in downtown Montgomery, Alabama.  Informally known as the National Lynching Memorial, the cenotaph was built on six acres by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a non-profit based in Montgomery. The related Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration opened the same day. The complex was built near the former market site in Montgomery where enslaved African Americans were sold.  

The development and construction of the memorial complex cost an estimated $20 million and was inspired by the examples of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Germany, and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa, to create a single memorial to victims of white supremacy in the United States.  By studying records in counties across the United States, researchers documented almost 4400 "racial terror lynchings" in the post-Reconstruction era between 1877 and 1950. Most took place in the decades just before and after the turn of the 20th century.  

It consists of a memorial square with 805 hanging steel rectangles representing each of the U.S. counties where a documented lynching took place. It also includes several sculptures depicting themes related to racial violence.  

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