Mental HealthNews

This New Lynching Memorial Rewrites American History

One of my first thoughts when I arrived in Montgomery, Alabama, and encountered the spring heat was this: How did enslaved men, women and children endure day after day? It was an odd thought, given that I’m a Southerner, and heat, certainly not spring heat, wouldn’t ordinarily be overwhelming, nor would it lead to thoughts of enslavement. But here, history is heavy, it’s immediate, and it’s everywhere. And the history that is most on display  in obvious and not-so-obvious ways is deeply tied to slavery and its enduring aftermath.

The truth has been hidden and untold for far too long and now the truth shall be told and not sold!

10 Equal Justice Initiative memorial RESTRICTED

The museum is located on the site of a former warehouse where enslaved black people were imprisoned after being transported to Montgomery via the nearby river dock and train station.

The streets here are named for Confederate generals. The state flag the St. Andrew’s crimson cross on a field of white revokes a Confederate flag. There’s a star at the Alabama State Capitol on the spot where Jefferson Davis became President of the Confederate States. Not a block away, a young Martin Luther King, Jr. and other activists planned the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott from his basement office at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. On the same street, slave traders once sold women, men and children alongside cows at bustling slave depots.

There is also the Rosa Parks Museum, the Civil Rights Memorial at the Southern Poverty Law Center and many murals commemorating the triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement. All of this, set off from the Alabama River, where slavers once unloaded people to sell, and music lovers and baseball fans now can take in a concert or a game.

New versus old in Montgomery