In April, we had the distinct honor of attending and filming the opening of the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Thank you to everyone who contributed with your donations and thoughts to help us on our epic journey. Our story which is one of the featured narratives on the Equal Justice Initiative’s website, Lynching in America, is a permanent installation in the museum. You can view that feature at: https://lynchinginamerica.eji.org/listen/tarabu-kirkland
The museum and memorial are staggering in beauty and impact, artfully constructed and powerfully curated and I believe puts Montgomery on the map as a national destination. It is an experience that captures your attention and elevates the collective demand for justice. The museum is constructed on the site of former warehouse where black people were enslaved in Montgomery, Alabama, to drawn dynamic connections across generations of Americans impacted by the tragic history of racial inequality. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice sits on a six-acre site and was conceived as a sacred space for truth telling and reflection about racial terror in America and its legacy.
Bryan Stevenson invited Mamie to the stage at an opening night reception where over a thousand guests were in attendance. As we waited backstage to be called, he delivered a stirring introduction about a little girl of seven years old whose family fled Mississippi fearing racial violence only to be caught in the web of racial terror and violence that followed them in the East St. Louis race riots and the Klan cross burning in front of their home in Ohio. When he said that little seven-year old girl is with us tonight and she is now 109 years old, the crown went wild. Mamie walked on stage to a standing ovation where she was given a Champion of Justice medallion. She then asked for the mic and told the crowd, “I will never forget,” and she received another standing ovation.
She was greeted afterwards by Jesse Jackson, Alfre Woodward, Janelle Monet, Gina Belafonte and Danny Glover among many others. It really was an epic moment. We have deep respect and gratitude for the amazing work and generosity we have experienced from the Equal Justice Initiative.
And again thank you to everyone for all your support.