Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Acknowledging Our History: Commemorating Lynched Americans

Bryan Stevenson, helped erect this marker in Montgomery, Ala.
Photo by John M. Glionna, originally from LA Times
The recent Los Angeles Times article "Civil rights lawyer seeks to commemorate another side of southern heritage: Lynchings" profiles Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative's work to place memorial markers at lynching sites across the southern United States.

As a part of EJI's Race and Poverty Project, Stevenson has been traveling around the south talking to city officials to gain support to put up the commemorative markers. He has started out in predominately African American communities and acknowledges that there are some places where white residents may push back on the idea. He argues that to truly achieve racial equality we have to talk about our whole history, even the painful parts, such as lynchings. 

As another part of the Race and Poverty Project, EJI conducted a multi-year investigation about lynchings of African Americans in the American south. As a result of the investigation, EJI published a report of their findings called Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.  The report documents nearly 4,000 lynchings, or as EJI explains "systemic domestic terrorism" incidents, between 1877 and 1950 across 12 southern states.

To read the Los Angeles Times article "Civil rights lawyer seeks to commemorate another side of southern heritage: Lynchings" click here.

To read a summary of EJI's Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror click here

For more information about EJI's Race and Poverty project click here.

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