Thursday, June 7, 2018

Alabama's powerful memorial to the lingering horror of lynching

THE NEW YORK TIMES
By Holland Cotter
Enslaved African men and women in a sculpture by the Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo at the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala. The work is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Credit Johnathon Kelso for The New York Times
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Arthur St. Clair, a minister, was lynched in Hernando County, Florida, in 1877 for performing the wedding of a black man and white woman. These appalling death notices — there are 90 in all, based on archival accounts dating from between 1877 and 1950 — fall like blows as you read them, one after another, lined up like epitaphs on a long wall at the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in this city. Historically, accounts of the lynching of African-Americans appeared in regional newspapers but seldom made their way into the North-based mainstream press. That silence has been decisively broken with the opening of the memorial and the museum. Both were created by the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit legal advocacy group directed by Bryan Stevenson and based in Montgomery. [More]
A sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas, “Raise Up,” on the grounds of the Memorial for Peace and Justice. Inspired by a 1960s photograph by Ernest Cole of South African miners, it suggests police suspects lined up at gunpoint. Credit Johnathon Kelso for The New York Times
More than 800 stele-like, 6-foot-tall rusted steel mini-monuments represent the victims of lynching. Credit Johnathon Kelso for The New York Times