Striking Photos of New Alabama Memorial Dedicated To Lynching Victims Spark Intense Reactions

The powerful exhibition includes "blood-soaked soil" collected from actual lynching sites.

Black people in America are finally getting the homage our ancestors deserve with the iconic opening of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Alabama.

On Thursday, the Montgomery memorial opened on a six-acre plot of land. The site was built to honor the victims who were lynched at the hands of American white supremacists. 

Powerful images from the memorial show 800 hanging steel columns, all containing the name and location of people who were lynched. The columns hang in remembrance of the people, many of whom were unidentified, who were found hanging in trees.

Etched on the steel was a description of the lynching: Parks Banks, lynched in Mississippi in 1922 for carrying a photograph of a white woman; Caleb Gadly, hanged in Kentucky in 1894 for “walking behind the wife of his white employer”; Mary Turner, who after denouncing her husband’s lynching by a rampaging white mob, was hung upside down, burned and then sliced open so that her unborn child fell to the ground.

Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative, said years were spent researching archives of documented lynchings across the South to create the memorial, reported the New York Times.

When it came time to design the memorial, Stevenson decided that a single memorial would show the severity of the racial climate American history.

  • The memorial also included visually stunning sculptures

    (Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
    (Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
  • (Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
    (Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
  • As the memorial opened for the public, many people celebrated finally having a site to honor those killed at the hands of racism

  • Just as Germany did with many Holocaust memorials, the site is hoped to act as a pathway for racial healing

  • Soil collected from the sites of lynchings across the south served as a powerful visual

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