EJI Peace and Justice Memorial
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
When slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, it ushered in a new era of terror upon African American people. At the time, 95% of black people lived in the South. Between 1870-1950 there were 4,400 documented cases of lynching and other murders across primarily the Southern states. Newly freed blacks were often incarcerated on charges that applied only to them, and forced to work in situations similar to those of slavery. Many blacks fled the terror by moving to Northern and Western cities with hopes of finding work and peace, but were only permitted to live in certain designated areas. You can see remnants of this today in Great Migration cities such as Detroit and Chicago. Lynching was ignored and even condoned by Southern politicians. Lynching victims were often left to hang for days so that other blacks would have to witness the abuse. Today, one in every three black boys will go to prison. The rate of incarcerated black women has skyrocketed within the past 25 years. The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population. As I reflect on this powerful monument, I want to ask you in which ways you see systemic racism present in today’s world. I am disgusted by the history of the United States. But the US is far from alone in such horrific inequality. I am immensely proud of my country that there are people who are directly having a discussion on the past wrongs and the implications on our society today. And the work that @eji_org has done so that we can face the truth and work to do better is one of the most inspiring acts of human compassion that I have ever witnessed. Thank you, EJI and thank you, Montgomery. May you lead our way to justice.