Yesterday I learnt about a proposed memorial, where the more than 4,000 Black Americans who were lynched in the United States, from 1877 to 1950 will be remembered in a striking space that will represent the bodies of those murdered, but also the horror of the experience, via the claustrophobic, disorienting display. Watch the video to see what I'm trying to express here, it's extremely powerful.
I was particularly moved by the idea of having duplicates of the stones in a 'temporary' graveyard beside the memorial that, it is hoped, will be emptied as the various counties place the marker in the site where the lynching took place. As you will see from the video, it is as if the stones are taken up into the heavens and somehow given release.
Here is some information on the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), based in Montgomery Alabama that provides legal services, advice and also conducts research. The description of the organisation reads: Racial Justice; Children in Prisons; Mass Incarceration; Death Penalty and Just Mercy (the book by Bryan Stevenson, EJI founder and executive director, a book that Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu said was 'as if America's soul has been put on trial').
And have a look at this recent interview on CBS with Stevenson where Stevenson likens the mass lynchings across the South as a form of terrorism that is frequently overlooked within the standard histories of the era. This violence, he says, was a key driver behind The Great Migration, where 5 million Black Americans left the South between 1915-1960. People were often fleeing, scared for their lives.