America Gets Its First Site Documenting Racial Inequality

Alabama memorial honors 4.4K lynching victims
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 23, 2018 12:33 AM CDT
In this photo from Wednesday, Josephine Bolling McCall poses with a photo of her father, lynching victim Elmore Bolling, at her home in Montgomery, Ala.   (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
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(Newser) – Elmore Bolling defied the odds against black men and built several successful businesses during the harsh era of Jim Crow segregation in the South. He had more money than a lot of whites, which his descendants believe was all it took to get him lynched in 1947. He was shot to death by a white neighbor, according to news accounts at the time, and the shooter was never prosecuted. But Bolling's name is now listed among thousands on a new memorial for victims of hate-inspired lynchings that terrorized generations of black Americans. Daughter Josephine Bolling McCall, 75, is anxious to see the monument, located about 20 miles from where her father was killed in rural Lowndes County, Ala., the AP reports.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, opening Thursday, is a project of the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative, a legal advocacy group in Montgomery. The organization says the combined museum and memorial will be the nation's first site to document racial inequality in America from slavery through Jim Crow to the issues of today. It includes a memorial to the victims of 4,400 "terror lynchings" from 1877 through 1950. "In the American South, we don't talk about slavery. We don't have monuments and memorials that confront the legacy of lynching. We haven't really confronted the difficulties of segregation. And because of that, I think we are still burdened by that history," says EJI Executive Director Bryan Stevenson.

(Read more lynching stories.)

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