This month, Marta will join Social Venture Partners on a trip to Montgomery, Alabama on a Learning Tour to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and to the Legacy Museum. In honor of this upcoming trip, we thought we would share more about the Equal Justice Initiative, the organization that established the museum and the memorial, and what the goals of the Learning Tour are in order to amplify its messages to our Starfish audience.
The Equal Justice Initiative is a nonprofit organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, that provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, poor prisoners without effective representation, and others who may have been denied a fair trial. The Equal Justice Initiative proudly confronts racial injustice, advocates for equality and creates hope for marginalized communities. They do this by being committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the Unites States, to challenging racial and economic injustices, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
The National Memorial for Peach and Justice first opened to the public in April 2018 and is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence. The memorial uses sculpture, art, and design to contextualize racial terror.
The Legacy Museum also first opened to the public in April 2018 and utilizes technology, rare first-person accounts, and extensive research and videography to dramatize the enslavement of African Americans, the evolution of racial terror lynchings, legalized racial segregation, and racial hierarchy in America. It is intentionally built on the site of a former warehouse where enslaved black people were once imprisoned, and is located midway between a historic slave market and the main river dock and train station where tens of thousands of enslaved people were trafficked during the height of the domestic slave trade. The museum also houses the nation’s most comprehensive collection of data on lynching.
The Learning Tour was designed to facilitate learning about the United States’ history and better understand the through lines to present-day inequities. While exploring the museum and memorial, participants on the Learning Tour will engage in conversations and reflections to better understand the historical atrocities of slavery, lynching, and other forms of violence and terror towards Black individuals in the United States. From these leanings, participants will draw parallels to modern forms of slavery including mass incarceration and police violence.
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