A civil-rights lawyer is proposing a $20 million national memorial to the victims of lynching, and Charles Pierce at Esquire says it's far past time for America to build it. "This country has needed a serious homegrown kind of Truth and Reconciliation Commission literally for centuries now," he says. The memorial, to be located in Montgomery, Alabama, would include jars of soil from the sites of more than 360 documented lynchings that took place in the state between 1877 and 1950. It would also include a call to any county in the US where a lynching took place to take a piece of the memorial and erect it there.
Pierce says the memorial, which would be the first of its kind in the US, would be a "spur to a permanent and honest discussion of our history." He notes that anti-lynching laws were still being opposed in the middle of the 20th century, quoting at length from a Florida congressman's opposition to one in 1948. The congressman based his opposition on the 10th Amendment, an argument still widely used today to fight everything from clean water to National Parks. Pierce says the memorial would be a reminder that "radical Tentherism ends in strange fruit." Read the full piece here. (Read more lynching stories.)