MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative announced plans Tuesday to build a national memorial honoring the victims of lynching. A museum is also planned to explore African American history from enslavement to modern-day issues like mass incarceration.
According to the EJI's online announcement, the memorial will sit on six acres of land overlooking Montgomery near Cottage Hill. It will be the first national memorial to victims of lynching.
The accompanying museum will be situated adjacent to the EJI's offices downtown. The site is within 150 yards of one of the south's most prominent slave auction sites. Both projects are expected to open in the spring of 2017.
The memorial will be constructed of hundreds of floating columns on which the names of lynching victims from over 800 counties across the U.S. will be inscribed. Over 4,000 lynching victims' names will be engraved on the concrete columns. Counties will be invited to retrieve duplicate columns to display themselves.
A recent EJI research project identified the 4,000 lynchings, which took place between 1877 and 1950.
The museum, From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, will contain high-tech exhibits, artifacts, recordings and films as well as comprehensive data and information on lynching and racial segregation. It will also seek to connect the history of racial inequality with contemporary issues of mass incarceration, excessive punishment and police violence.
The Equal Justice Initiative is led by Bryan Stevenson, an attorney known for representing death row inmates and juvenile defendants. He was unavailable for comment.
For more information about the memorial or the museum, visit this website.